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A possible natural remedy for bird flu.

A standardized extract of black elderberry marketed under the name Sambucol has been found to fight the avian flu virus H5N1 in the laboratory, according to British researchers. A team at Retroscreen Virology, an institute associated with the University of London, said that the extract was at least 99 percent effective against the so-called "bird flu" virus and significantly neutralized the infectivity of the virus in cell cultures.

Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, the Israel-based developer of Sambucol, says the results confirm her earlier findings on the product, which is currently marketed around the world as a natural supplement for fighting common flu. But she cautions against jumping just yet to the conclusion that the extract will benefit humans infected with the bird flu strain that has killed more than 70 people, mostly in South East Asia, since the outbreak began in 2003. Nor will she be able to test it in a human trial. But she is hoping for an animal trial using ferrets, which have similar flu symptoms to humans. Another trial is now underway at Hadassah Medical Organization Ein Kerem in Israel.

Elderberry is a traditional remedy, from which Mumcuoglu claims to have identified and preserved the active ingredient.

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Title Annotation:Good News; black elderberry
Publication:Natural Life
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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