The researchers showed that the phytochemical-rich petals of rhododendron arboretum, found in the Himalayan region, showed antiviral activity locally known as ‘buranash’ and fought against the virus.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi and The International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, have identified phytochemicals in the petals of Himalayan trees that could potentially be used to treat COVID-19 infections.
The research team’s findings were recently published in the journal Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics. The study was led by Dr. Shyam Kumar Maskapalli, Associate Professor, BioEx Center, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi and Dr. Ranjan Nanda, Translational Health Group and Dr. Sujata Sunil, Vector Borne Disease Group, International Center for Genetic Engineering. Delhi. Co-authors of the paper are Dr. Manish Lingwan, Shagun Shagun, Falak Pahwa, Ankit Kumar, Dilip Kumar Verma, Yogesh Pant, Lingarao VK Kamatam and Bandana Kumari.
Two years after the Kovid-19 epidemic, researchers are trying to understand the nature of the virus and discover new ways to prevent infection. Although vaccination is a way to empower the body to fight the virus, there is a growing search around the world for non-vaccine drugs that can prevent viral attacks in humans. These drugs use chemicals that either bind to the receptors in our body cells and prevent the virus from entering them or act on the virus and prevent its replication inside our body.
The petals of the Himalayan Buransha plant, scientifically called Rhododendron arboreum, are consumed by the local people in various forms for their various health benefits. Scientists at IIT Mandi and ICGEB embarked on a journey to scientifically test various phytochemical-rich extracts with a special focus on antiviral activity. Researchers have extracted phytochemicals from Buranash petals and studied biochemical experiments and computational simulations to understand their antiviral properties.
Hot water extract from these petals has been found to be rich in quinic acid and its derivatives. Studies of molecular dynamics have shown that this phytochemical has two types of effects against viruses. They bind to the main protease – an enzyme that plays a key role in viral replication – and the human angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) that mediates viral entry into host cells.
Researchers have further shown through experimental testing that a non-toxic dose of petal extract can prevent covid infection in Vero E6 cells (cells derived from the African green monkey kidney commonly used to study viral and bacterial infections). Adverse effects on cells themselves.
Results in vivo and clinical trials against Covid-19. Supports the urgent need for further scientific research aimed at finding specific bioactive drug candidates from Arborium. The research team plans to conduct additional studies to understand the precise mechanism of replication of Covid-19 replication by specific phytochemicals from borans petals.