Citric acid may prevent the highly contagious norovirus from infecting humans, scientists discovered from the German Cancer Research Center. Therefore, lemon juice could be a potentially safe and practical disinfectant against the most common pathogen of severe gastrointestinal infections.
Noroviruses are the predominant cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in community settings such as hospitals, cruise ships and schools. The virus is extremely contagious and is mostly transmitted via “fecal-oral-route,” i.e., through contaminated hands or contaminated food. Symptoms include violent and sudden onset of diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
“It is therefore important to provide a safe and harmless disinfectant against human norovirus,” explains Grant Hansman, head of CHS junior research group at the German Cancer Research Center noroviruses and the University of Heidelberg. The group is funded by the CHS Foundation. Some older observations found that fruit extracts, such as orange or pomegranate juice, could reduce the infectivity of surrogate noroviruses.