Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2012 Apr;10(4):462-70.
To explore if some ultra-highly diluted homeopathic remedies claimed to have antiviral effects can demonstrate any discernible action in the bacteria Escherichia coli through modulating infectivity potentials of the bacteriophage φX174 DNA.
φX174 was selected because of its known host specificity to E. coli and its constitutive expression of lytic gene E when inside the bacterial host. We deployed the “bacteriophage assay system” by “top layer agar plating” method of plaque-counting for evaluation of efficacy of the homeopathic remedies in rendering the bacteria’s protective ability against the attack of φX174. The plaque number in the agar-plated Petri dishes, either containing the phage-bacteria mixture subjected to one of the diluted homeopathic drugs under test (1% volume ratio; Belladonna 30C, Rhus Tox 30C, Arnica 30C) or the succussed 1% “alcoholic vehicle” of the drug was recorded. The plaques represented the bacterial colony actually infected and lysed by φX174. Conversely, we subjected φX174 to the homeopathic drug treatment before allowing them to interact with the bacteria to ascertain if the drug itself had any direct effect on the infective potential of the phage DNA entering into the bacterial cell.
Each homeopathic remedy showed a significant decrease in plaque number on pretreated bacteria (1 h prior to infection) with respect to untreated and placebo-treated controls; there was only an insignificant change in the plaque number when φX174 was pretreated with the drugs. As φX174 starts lytic cycle when inside the bacterial cell, the loss of plaque number would mean that either the lytic gene E in many was repressed or the entire phage DNA was annihilated by the bacterial gene product (restriction enzymes) known to be regulated by a cluster of genes.
This provides phenotypic evidence for the ability of ultra-highly diluted homeopathic remedies to regulate expression of certain gene(s) depending on need of the organism.