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Study: Compound In Beer Could Help Fight Viruses

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File photo of a person drinking a beer. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/GettyImages)

File photo of a person drinking a beer. (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/GettyImages)

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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Texas residents who indulged in Dallas Beer Week last month may have felt under the weather the next day.

However, according to a new study, beer drinkers in Texas – and beyond – may be feeling fine throughout the winter months, despite many being prone to bouts of cold and flu.

The study, conducted at Sapporo Medical University in Tokyo, found that a chemical compound in hops – which beer brewers say gives beer its defining bitter taste – has virus-fighting powers.

The compound is called humulone, and it reportedly works wonders as far as cutting down the negative effects of the respiratory syncytial virus, in particular inflammation

“The … virus can cause serious pneumonia and breathing difficulties for infants and toddlers, but no vaccination is available at the moment to contain it,” said Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher from Sapporo Breweries, told news service AFP on Wednesday.

The respiratory syncytial virus is a major contributor to respiratory illness in most people, and can indeed have especially negative effects on children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the virus is the leading cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants in the United States.

“In addition, [the respiratory syncytial virus] is more often being recognized as an important cause of respiratory illness in older adults,” the CDC’s official website additionally notes.

Researchers told AFP that the amount of humulone in one can of beer was negligible, and that a person would have to consume approximately 30 cans to reap the anti-viral benefits.

Still, those involved with the study are hopeful that isolating the humulone compound could help create more effective virus-fighting products suitable for patients of all ages.

“We are now studying the feasibility of applying humulone to food or non-alcoholic products,” Fuchimoto added to the news service. “The challenge really is that the bitter taste is going to be difficult for children.”

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