Cinnamon helps fight against bird flu

08-08-2007 | |
Cinnamon helps fight against bird flu

Technology has been created whereby cinnamon extract is used as an air disinfectant against bird flu in airports, or as a daily supplement that protects people against the common flu.

Tel Aviv University technology transfer company Ramot has signed an agreement with Frutarom, a multinational neutraceutical company based in Israel, for applying a technology of using the a cinnamon extract in a whole host of applications from disinfecting the air as a spray against avian flu in airports, to a daily supplement that protects people against the common flu. The discovery was made by Professor Michael Ovadia, of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Zoology.
Ovadia’s initial experiments proved to be true – his savoury cinnamon extract was able to quickly and efficiently immunise chicken embryos from the Newcastle disease virus, one which costs the poultry industry in the US alone millions of dollars a year.
Apparently further studies on avian influenza H9, Sendal virus, and Herpes Simplex 1 also achieved positive results. “Not only was the extract able to neutralise the viruses, it also showed for selected viruses that it has the potential to immunise against them as well.”
What the cinnamon does
Besides human applications, Prof Ovadia sees that cinnamon fills an important niche in the agricultural industry where chicks need to be immunised by hand against the deadly Newcastle disease virus. Applying his research to the global scale could only be done with the help of a large company, which is where Frutarom comes in. The Israeli-based flavour and food additive company has grown in the last 10-15 years from US$10 million a year to a projected US$350 million by the end of 2007.
The review says that the University is going to take this know-how from a food supplement to protect people from illness to neutraceuticals in drugs, also realising that it can be used in agriculture against bird flu. “This represents a very diversified product,” commented Frutarom’s CEO Ori Yehudai.

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