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Disease outbreaks throughout history have taken its toll on the global population. Focusing on the most recent coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, scientists have been investigating viral mechanisms since the outbreak, with the aim of developing effective prevention and antiviral treatments. As the disease continues to rage on, the elimination of infection has been considered as an urgent issue.
Based on the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) approach regarding COVID-19, we investigated the study of this pandemic from a different perspective. We aim to evaluate the effectiveness of TCM herbs as a SARS-CoV-2 prevention agent to furthermore open up more possibilities in regard to disease prevention and control.
We closely exerted experiments with 18 TCM herbs for prevention of COVID-19 infection. The SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) functional assay concentrated on how these herbs inhibit the main protease in charge of virus replication. The viral pseudoparticle (Vpp) assay examined the activity of SARS-CoV-2 entry with the herbs infected with a pseudovirus.
The experiments indicated that Forsythia suspensa (Lianqiao), Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen), and Scutellaria baicalensis (Huangqin) showed the greatest inhibition of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. while Scutellaria baicalensis (Huangqin) and Artemisia capillaris (Mieninchen) expressed suppression of SARS-CoV-2 entry.
Altogether, we showed that several TCM herbs turned out to be effective in Mpro targeting and SARS-CoV-2 Vpp inhibiting. We conclude that some of those TCM herbs might be possibly used to lower infection and prevent outbreaks. In terms of its application, while there are many aspects that need to be further investigated, the TCM herbs have shown their potential as preventive measures.
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