In Vitro Characterization of a Nineteeth-Century Therapy for Smallpox

William Arndt et al.

In the nineteenth century, smallpox ravaged through the United States and Canada. At this time, a botanical preparation, derived from the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea, was proclaimed as being a successful therapy for smallpox infections. The work described characterizes the antipoxvirus activity associated with this botanical extract against vaccinia virus, monkeypox virus and variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox. Our work demonstrates the in vitro characterization of Sarracenia purpurea as the first effective inhibitor of poxvirus replication at the level of early viral transcription. With the renewed threat of poxvirus-related infections, our results indicate Sarracenia purpurea may act as another defensive measure against Orthopoxvirus infections.

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