Recent publications highlight that the components of olive oil extend their beneficial actions to the COVID-19 disease

Recent publications highlight that the components of olive oil extend their beneficial actions to the COVID-19 disease
  • PublishedNovember 21, 2022

    C.A. Demopoulos* [GR]

* Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry & Food Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, member of the Scientific Society of Olive Encyclopaedists (4E)     


A Greek group has published an original hypothesis that Platelet-Activating Factor (PAF) is involved in COVID-19 and confirms the explanations formulated by the group for the complications of COVID-19 and the possible beneficial action of PAF inhibitors.

In addition, they published experimental data which demonstrate the production of PAF by the Spike protein of the coronavirus and thus confirm the important role of PAF in the disease COVID-19, as they propose in their related publications on the mechanism of action of the coronavirus. Furthermore, the potential beneficial effect of PAF inhibitors (including the olive oil PAF inhibitors) is reinforced. In addition, the importance of vaccination is highlighted.

The above data will help the effort to further elucidate the mechanism of action of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and its treatment methods.




The research team, consisting of the Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry & Food Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens C.A. Demopoulos, the Professor of Biochemistry at the Department of Nutrition -Dietetics of Harokopio University S. Antonopoulou and the Clinical Dietitian Dr. Paraskevi Detopoulou, in collaboration with Theocharis Theocharidis, Professor at Tufts University in Boston and Nova Southeastern University, Florinda, took a new – international approach to the subject of Coronavirus 2019. They developed a new theory proposing the involvement in COVID-19 disease of the most powerful inflammatory factor Platelet-Activating Factor (PAF), the structure of which was discovered by C.A. Demopoulos in 1979 at the University of Texas at San Antonio. This theory adds crucial information to the mechanism of action of the virus into the cells, and also explains the complications of COVID-19 disease. The results of this research have been published in scientific Journals [1, 2, 3, 4], the acceptance of which by the international scientific community was shown by the fact that they became Top Cited Article 2020-2021 in BioFactors scientific Journal, and Editor’s Choice Article in Nutrients scientific Journal. The scientific opinion of the Greek research group on the involvement of PAF in COVID-19 disease and the beneficial effect of PAF inhibitors have been accepted by other researchers [5] and are beginning to be applied in the treatment of the disease COVID-19, as will be mentioned below.

The corresponding article in Nutrients [4] is of general interest in a hot topic, that focuses on the nutrients of foods and the Mediterranean diet (especially in the main component of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil), which act as PAF inhibitors, with possible anti-COVID-19 activity. In conclusion, a healthy diet is recommended, including as many foods as possible (mentioned in this article) that contain PAF inhibitors. Some of them have already been suggested in the literature by other researchers for their likely beneficial effect in preventing and / or reducing the harmful complications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, especially formulated dietary supplements containing natural PAF inhibitors will have better results.

PAF inhibitors are beginning to be applied in the treatment of the disease COVID-19. In fact, professors of General Practice medicine at Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, wrote a text with instructions for their physicians in three languages entitled “Les traitements ambulatoires dans le COVID-19”,COVID-19 treatments in General Practice Medicine” and ‘’De ambulante behandelingen van COVID-19″. In Subchapter B, the authors suggest that other treatments could be considered in outpatients: ‘’In addition to medication, supplements with natural ingredients may be co-administered, including PAF inhibitors’’. They also suggest to their readers to “Read on this subject the contribution of Prof. Constantinos A. Demopoulos“, “Lire à ce sujet la contribution du Prof. Constantinos A. Demopoulos“, and “Lees over dit onderwerp de bijdrage van Prof. Constantinos A. Demopoulos”.

Recent publications confirming the beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet (which contains PAF inhibitors) on COVID-19, was published from European and American Universities [6,7]. Furthermore, another recently published article [8] emphasizes on the beneficial effect of ginkgolides in the management of the COVID‐19 severity. Ginkgolides are the most potent specific inhibitors of PAF and are components of the Ginkgo biloba plant, which the Chinese considered to have anti-inflammatory and therapeutic cardioprotective properties since ancient times.

It should be mentioned that BioFactors scientific Journal, evaluating the crucial role of PAF in Covid-19, is planning the publication of a “Special Issue” on the topic of “PAF and Immunity” in which the members of the team T. Theocharidis, S. Antonopoulou and C.A.Demopoulos are Guest Editors. From this Special Issue, some articles, including the article of the Greek research group [9] and the Editorial [10] were recently released.

The results from the in vitro experiments performed on washed rabbit platelets and ex vivo experiments on platelet-rich plasma of unvaccinated humans [9] revealed that the Spike protein increases the aggregation capacity of platelets when activated with the inflammatory/thrombotic factor PAF. On the other hand, in the case of the ex vivo experiments with recently vaccinated humans, the aggregation capacity of platelets is reduced when activated with the inflammatory/thrombotic factor PAF, thus reinforcing the importance of vaccination in the general population. Also, the experiments with cell cultures showed that the Spike protein increases PAF levels in the cells as well as the PAF secreted into the environment by increasing the activity of PAF biosynthetic enzymes, in other words by activation of PAF biosynthesis [9]. The aforementioned experimental results confirm the crucial role of PAF in the disease COVID-19, and the beneficial effect of PAF inhibitors.

Recently, Professor Theocharis Theocharidis, in collaboration with professors from other American Universities, managed to treat a patient with severe COVID-19 with the use of antivirals and co-administration of PAF inhibitors [11] as has been suggested in the publications of the Greek group, i.e. for drug cocktails with antivirals and PAF inhibitors. After all, Pfizer’s new drug for COVID-19, Paxlovid, consists of the antiviral PF-07321332/Nirmatrelvir and the AIDS drug Ritonavir, which is also a strong inhibitor of PAF, as the Greek team has published [12].

The Editorial [10] in the Special Issue provides information on the nature, production, and biological actions of PAF and its involvement in Covid-19, while reference is made to its inhibitors and their role in the treatment of Covid-19. The importance of natural PAF inhibitors is highlighted, especially the inhibitors found in Mediterranean foods and, of course, in the main component of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil.




[1]  Is Platelet-Activating Factor (PAF) a missing link for elucidating the mechanism of action of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and explaining the side effects-complications of Covid-19 disease?


Preprints 2020, 2020060253 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202006.0253.v1)

[2]  Coronavirus 2019, Microthromboses, and Platelet Activating Factor (PAF).

Theoharides T.C, Antonopoulou S, Demopoulos C.A.

Clinical Therapeutics, 2020, 42, 10.

[3]  COVID-19,microthromboses, inflammation, and platelet activating factor.

Demopoulos C.A., Antonopoulou S, Theoharides TC.

BioFactors. 2020;1–7. https://doi. org/10.1002/biof.1696 (Top Cited Article 2020-2021)

[4]  Micronutrients, phytochemicals and Mediterranean diet: a potential protective role against COVID-19 through modulation of PAF actions and metabolism.

Detopoulou, P.; Demopoulos A. C.; and Antonopoulou  S.

Nutrients 2021, 13(2), 462; (Editor’s Choice Article in Nutrients)

[5]  A Review of Platelet-Activating Factor as a Potential Contributor to Morbidity and

Mortality Associated with Severe COVID-19

Mark Klein, Vinh Dao, and Fatima Khan.

Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2021 Jan-Dec; 27: 10760296211051764.

[6] Mediterranean diet and the risk of COVID-19 in the ‘Seguimiento Universidad de

Navarra’ cohort

R Perez-Araluce, M A Martinez-Gonzalez, C I Fernández-Lázaro, M Bes-Rastrollo, A

Gea, S Carlos.

Clin Nutr. 2021 Apr 15; S0261-5614(21)00190-4. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.04.001.

[7] Mediterranean Diet and SARS-COV-2 Infection: Is There Any Association? A

Proof-of-Concept Study

Valentina Ponzo, Marianna Pellegrini, Chiara D’Eusebio, Fabio Bioletto, Ilaria Goitre,

Silvio Buscemi, Simone Frea, Ezio Ghigo and Simona Bo.

Nutrients 2021, 13(5), 1721;

[8] Ginkgo biloba in the management of the COVID‐19 severity

Hayder M. Al‐kuraishy, Ali I. Al‐Gareeb, Ajeet Kaushik, Małgorzata Kujawska, Gaber El‐Saber Batiha.

Arch. Pharm. 2022, e2200188.

[9] Is there an interplay between the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and Platelet-Activating


Antonopoulou S, Petsini F, Detopoulou M, Theoharides TC, Demopoulos CA.

BioFactors. 2022.

[10] Platelet activating factor: Have we been missing the forest for the trees? EDITORIAL

Theoharis C. Theoharides, Smaragdi Antonopoulou, Constantinos A. Demopoulos

BioFactors. 2022;1–5. DOI: 10.1002/biof.1908

[11] Successful Treatment of a Patient with Severe COVID-19 Using an Integrated

Approach Addressing Mast Cells and Their Mediators.

Theoharides, T. C., Guerra, L., Patel, K.

Int J Infect Dis (2022) 118,164-166.

[12] Anti-platelet-activating factor effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART): a new insight in the drug therapy of HIV infection?

Tsoupras AB, Chini M, Tsogas N, Fragopoulou E, Nomikos T, Lioni A, et al.

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2008;24:1079–86.

Written By
Vassilis Zampounis