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Phytonutrients boost intrinsic antiviral immunity

Article-Phytonutrients boost intrinsic antiviral immunity

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Caffeic acid polyphenol additives could help to improve consumers’ overall immunity against viral infections.

As the COVID global pandemic continues to impact consumers' lives around the globe, solutions to combat and prevent such health crises are also on the rise. According to research published in Phytomedicine (DOI:, caffeic acid derivatives (CAFDs) extracted from phytonutrients can serve as an alternative approach when it comes to modulating the immune system. 

Researchers from universities in Turkey, Pakistan, China, and Egypt analysed bioactive ingredients as antiviral agents to help alleviate pressures caused by the pandemic. They looked at 27 CAFDs and studied their effects against five proteins of the COVID SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The results showed that out of the 27 CAFDs, 19 had stronger MolDock (MD) docking scores toward COVID-19 virus main protease (Mpro)— a key enzyme in viral replication—than the antiretroviral drug nelfinavir. Further, 11 CAFDs had higher MD scores against virus proteins Nsp15 endoribonuclease and SARS-CoV-2 fusion S2; five CAFDs had good binding with spike ectodomain (open state), and seven had good binding with spike glycoprotein (closed state) proteins. Interestingly, researchers noted: “Most of the CAFDs possessing good binding energies with various proteins of SARS-CoV-2 have been isolated from traditionally used medicinal plants such as khainaoside B and khainaoside C are isolated from Thai medicinal plant Vitex glabrata which is traditionally used to support lactation and possess anti-diabetic potential.”

Looking at the CAFDs, researchers highlighted calceolarioside B as a multi-inhibitor of COVID as it can potentially target four out of the five SARS-CoV-2 proteins: Mpro, Nsp15, coronavirus fusion protein, and spike ectodomain. They noted calceolarioside B rich foods to be “a potential alternative approach for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.” Overall, researchers identified khainaoside C, 6-O-Caffeoylarbutin, khainaoside B, khainaoside C and vitexfolin as powerful modulators of COVID.