Findings of a new study in Israel show that the deadly West Nile virus, which recently killed a 71-year-old Atlanta woman, may have a natural enemy. The in vitro laboratory research at the Kimron Veterinary Institute shows that a uniquely standardised black elderberry extract, sambucol, neutralises the sometimes-fatal virus. Additional research may prove its protective effect against the virus in humans. The West Nile virus is carried in birds and spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. Such was the cause of last year's deadly outbreak in the New York metropolitan area. The virus has now been detected in 12 states and US health officials warn of its spread across the entire country. There is no specific therapy or vaccine against the West Nile virus. But in a recently published human clinical study, Sambucol Black Elderberry extract was shown to enhance immunity by stimulating increased production of certain white blood cells (cytokines). Study researchers concluded "... in addition to its antiviral properties, Sambucol Elderberry Extract and its formulation activate the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production. Sambucol might therefore be beneficial to the immune system activation and in the inflammatory process in healthy individuals or in patients with various diseases." The complete study is published in European Cytokine Network (Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2001, pages 290-296.) West Nile has a quick incubation period. In more severe cases, the virus may cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) potentially resulting in permanent damage and death. The most vulnerable are the elderly or individuals with weak immune systems. Sambucol was developed by virologist Dr. Madeline Mumcuolgu, who produces the unique black elderberry extract in Israel. "I believe we're only at the beginning," Dr. Mumcuolgu said. "I believe Sambucol's applications to be far wider than have yet been shown."