Antiviral properties of clinoptilolite

The aim of this study was to evaluate the antiviral properties of clinoptilolite, a natural non-toxic zeolite. Herein, a fine powder of micronized zeolite (MZ) was obtained by tribomechanical micronization of natural clinoptilolite. Different viral suspensions were treated with MZ in concentrations ranging from 0.5 to 50 mg/ml. The viral proliferation was evaluated by optical microscope as percentage of cytopathic effect (CPE). Human adenovirus 5, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV 1) and human enteroviruses (coxsackievirus B5 and echovirus 7) were used in the antiviral assay. Concentrations of 0.5 and 5 mg/ml of MZ induced a very low antiviral effect or the antiviral was not observed at all, while concentrations of 12, 25 and 50 mg/ml of MZ induced a significant inhibitory effect upon viral proliferation. MZ inhibited the viral proliferation of HSV 1, coxsackievirus B5 and echovirus 7 more efficiently than adenovirus 5. The antiviral effect of MZ seems to be non-specific and is more likely based on the incorporation of viral particles into pores of MZ aggregates than ion exchange properties of clinoptilolite. Our preliminary results indicate a possibility of therapeutical application of MZ, either locally (skin) against herpesvirus infections or orally in cases of adenovirus or enterovirus infections. Futhermore, MZ could also be used in purification of drinking water from different viruses.