Mar Drugs. 2021 Feb 6 ;19(2). Epub 2021 Feb 6. PMID: 33562153
Antiviral Potential of Algal Metabolites-A Comprehensive Review.
Historically, algae have stimulated significant economic interest particularly as a source of fertilizers, feeds, foods and pharmaceutical precursors. However, there is increasing interest in exploiting algal diversity for their antiviral potential. Here, we present an overview of 50-years of scientific and technological developments in the field of algae antivirals. After bibliometric analysis of 999 scientific references, a survey of 16 clinical trials and analysis of 84 patents, it was possible to identify the dominant algae, molecules and viruses that have been shaping and driving this promising field of research. A description of the most promising discoveries is presented according to molecule class. We observed a diverse range of algae and respective molecules displaying significant antiviral effects against an equally diverse range of viruses. Some natural algae molecules, like carrageenan, cyanovirin or griffithsin, are now considered prime reference molecules for their outstanding antiviral capacity. Crucially, while many algae antiviral applications have already reached successful commercialization, the large spectrum of algae antiviral capacities already identified suggests a strong potential for future expansion of this field.