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Over 55 million people in the world have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. Out of these, more than 38 million have recovered and over 1.3 million have died.
Hundreds of clinical trials are being conducted all over the world to find a vaccine for the disease and to find effective compounds that can help prevent COVID-19 . However, some experts indicate that even when the prophylactic drugs are available, these have some potential side effects that may affect a huge part of the population.
Now, a study conducted by a group of researchers from China and the USA suggests that some natural products and herbal medicines may be effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, indicates that natural products have tolerable toxicity and are hence considered to be excellent prophylactic agents.
The researchers summarised natural products that have been proposed as prophylactic agents against COVID-19 and herbal medications that are used for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome in the study.
The researchers found some of the following drug targets and natural products that could act on them:
It is important to note that all these compounds are still in the initial stages of research and more studies are needed to confirm the findings and assess dosage and tolerability in various age groups.
The study suggested that several commercially available herbal medications are already being used as prophylactic agents against respiratory distress occurring due to flu and common cold.
Several studies have shown the efficacy of flavonoid-rich herbs against viruses in human lung cell lines. In a study done in China, herbs including liquorice root, Pinellia rhizome, and bitter apricot seed were indicated to be the most frequently prescribed for COVID-19 . The study also suggested that these medications were able to slow down the progression of the disease, reduce hospitalisation time, and help alleviate fever, cough and other symptoms associated with the disease.
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