Business News/ News / World/  Covid-19: Wild plant extracts show potential in reducing virus infectivity. All you need to know

Extracts from two common wild plants can decrease the capacity Covid-19 virus to infect cells, a new study has revealed. Thes are flowers of tall goldenrod and the rhizomes of the eagle fern.

This was the first large-scale screening of botanical extracts for effectiveness against the Covid virus. The results of the experiment were published in Scientific Reports.

During laboratory dish tests, researchers discovered that extracts from both plants blocked SARS-CoV-2 from entering human cells. However, the active compounds in the plants are only present in minuscule quantities, making self-treatment unsafe and potentially dangerous, particularly as eagle fern is known to be toxic.

The study's senior author and associate professor in Emory School of Medicine's Department of Dermatology and the Center for the Study of Human Health, Cassandra Quave, said, as quoted by news agency ANI, “It's very early in the process, but we're working to identify, isolate and scale up the molecules from the extracts that showed activity against the virus."

She added, "Once we have isolated the active ingredients, we plan to further test for their safety and for their long-range potential as medicines against Covid-19."

Both plant species -tall goldenrod and eagle fern - are native to North America and are known for traditional medicinal uses by Native Americans. Additional experiments showed that the protective power of the plant extracts worked across four variants of SARS-CoV-2: Alpha, theta, delta and gamma.

Quave is an ethnobotanist who studies how traditional people have used plants for medicine, identifying promising new candidates for modern-day drugs. 

"Our results set the stage for the future use of natural product libraries to find new tools or therapies against infectious diseases," she said.

The researchers' next step is to determine the exact mechanism that enables the two plant extracts to block binding to ACE2 proteins. The study shows the potential for using natural product libraries to find new tools or therapies against infectious diseases.

(With inputs from agencies)



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Updated: 12 Feb 2023, 03:03 PM IST
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