The NBRC of the Government of India in one of its research has found liquorice used as a herb to be very effective in the treatment of corona.
New Delhi. The National Brain Research Center (NBRC), working under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, has released the results of an interesting research. A team of NBRC scientists has identified liquorice, a commonly used herb, as a potential source for developing a drug for COVID-19.
Scientists have found that an active substance called glycyrrhizin found in the root of this herb reduces the severity of the disease and is also able to stop the process of viral replication.
This discovery is also important because there is still no specific drug available to treat Kovid-19 infection. However, there have been many vaccines, which claim to protect against it. Doctors currently manage the disease by using some repurposed medicines in the treatment of Kovid-19 patients.
The NBRC team started the search for a drug against Kovid-19 last year. He studied liquorice because it is known for its excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Scientists have done many experiments to test the ability of liquorice against the corona virus.
When the coronavirus infects human cells, the body’s immune system in response immediately releases a set of proteins called cytokines against the virus. In the case of severe infection, immune cells respond rapidly by releasing an “extremely rapid influx of cytokines.” Sometimes this flow can become uncontrolled, causing severe swelling and fluid accumulation in the lung tissue. This condition can cause complicated respiratory distress, death of cells, and eventually organ failure.
NBRC scientists found that the glycyrrhizin molecule present in liquorice can help to avoid this problem. Researchers have tested specific viral proteins in human lung epithelial cells. Researchers found that this viral protein causes inflammation in these cells. They found that treatment with glycyrrhizin relieved this inflammation. Whereas, the untreated cells succumbed to inflammation during the study.
The scientists further analyzed the molecule and found that in addition to inhibiting cytokine influx, glycyrrhizin reduced viral replication by up to 90%. Liquorice is widely used in Ayurveda for lung diseases, chronic fever and inflammation of the respiratory tract. At the same time, glycyrrhizin is used in the treatment of chronic hepatitis-B and hepatitis-C.
“Given its safety profile and tolerability, liquorice may become a viable therapeutic option in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the scientists said.
Researchers are now looking for partners to advance the research to the pre-clinical stage. They have published a report on their study in Cytokine, the official journal of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society. Senior scientist Ellora Sen along with her fellow researchers Prithvi Gowda, Shruti Patrick, Shankar Dutt, Rajesh Joshi and Kumar Kumawat conducted this study.
(courtesy india science wire)