Potential antiviral drugs from plants.
Viruses have been known to cause infections in humans as early as 1880s. Viruses may have RNA or DNA and completely depend on their host for survival and replication. Viral infections have a wide variety of symptoms. Some viral infections such as cold and flu are self-limiting in healthy humans while others require antiviral agents. Some infections caused by virus include chickenpox, flu (influenza), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS), human papillomavirus (HPV), mumps, measles, rubella, shingles, viral hepatitis, and yellow fever. Viral infections such as the novel COVID19 virus can be highly communicable and difficult to treat.
We have quite a number of approved antiviral agents, but these drugs cover a narrow range of viral infections and there is need for new antiviral agents. Plants have served as potential sources of drugs for many years as they are safe, cost effective sources of potential drug molecules.
Plants contain phytochemicals like alkaloids, carotenoids, flavonoids tannins and polyphenols that have been found to have potential antimicrobial, antioxidant and sometimes antiviral properties. Componds such as policytone A from Policytor sp. has potential antiviral activity against HIV virus; glycyrrhizin from Glycyrrhiza glabra has been observed to have antiviral effects against hepatitis A, Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, and HIV; moronic acid from Rhus javanicahas has been reported to have potent antiviral activity against herpes virus.
These compounds and many other compounds from plants could serve as potential new antiviral agents.
Plants extracts go through screening and testing to identify potential molecules with antiviral activity. These target molecules go through invitro testing in the lab and invivo testing in suitable biological models to determine their safety and efficacy.
Plants are a great source of drug molecules due to their safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness.
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Mishra KP, Sharma N, Diwaker D, Ganju L, Singh SB (2013) Plant Derived Antivirals: A Potential Source of Drug Development. J Virol Antivir doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2324-8955.1000109.