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NEW DELHI : Indian scientists are studying garlic extracts for treating covid-19.

The Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing, Mohali, and the Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Faridabad, are jointly researching natural garlic essential oil as a potential inhibitor of ACE2 protein, the receptor that serves as the entry point for coronaviruses into human cells, and the amino acids in the virus.

Garlic, a common spice for flavouring food, is also used in traditional medicine prescriptions against common colds and influenza. The essential oil of garlic is known to possess organosulfur compounds that exhibit strong antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer and antimicrobial properties.

“A full investigation of garlic essential oil with respect to its qualitative compositional analysis and its biological activity in vitro, meaning out of the organism, and in vivo, meaning inside a living organism, was targeted," said a senior official of the department of biotechnology, under which the two research institutes operate.

The study may help uncover the benefits of garlic essential oil in treating covid-19. “Characterization of garlic essential oil, including its component, refractive index, viscosity and density, was studied. End-use related studies for its educative use and consumption in management of covid-19 patients is underway in collaboration with the Regional Centre for Biotechnology," the official said.

Ayurveda practitioners claim that garlic is one of the most efficient natural antibiotics against the wide spectrum of viruses and bacteria.

Sucheta Khubber, a scientist at the Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing, said that organosulfur and flavonoid compounds present in garlic are responsible for the immune-boosting effects of the spice.

The daily dietary intake of garlic and its derived products as an adjuvant therapy may decrease side-effects and toxicity due to main drugs being used to treat the disease, she said.

Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 resistance of compounds in garlic essential oil found that the 17 organosulfur compounds, accounting for 99.4% of the content of garlic essential oil, have strong interactions with the amino acids of the ACE2 protein and the main protease PDB6LU7 of SARS-CoV-2, the scientist said.

The results suggested that garlic essential oil is a valuable natural antivirus source, which contributes to preventing the invasion of coronavirus into the human body.

Similar studies are being done in the UK and China.

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