From a seasonal cold to a stomach bug, nobody likes catching a virus—and epidemics can be devastating. We need safe, sustainable antiviral options to treat the outbreaks of the future. Scientists in Finland have now shown that an extract of willow bark—a plant that has already provided several medicines, including the precursor to modern aspirin—has a broad-spectrum antiviral effect in cell sample experiments. The extract worked both on enveloped coronaviruses, which cause colds as well as COVID-19, and non-enveloped enteroviruses, which cause infections such as flu and meningitis. There are no clinically approved drugs that work against enteroviruses directly, so this extract could be a future game-changer. …The scientists had previously tested willow bark extract on enteroviruses, and found it was highly successful. In this new study, they expanded the remit of their research to look at additional kinds of virus and to try to understand the mechanism of the extract’s action.