JOURNAL ARTICLE

Lianhuaqingwen exerts anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity against novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

Li Runfeng, Hou Yunlong, Huang Jicheng, Pan Weiqi, Ma Qinhai, Shi Yongxia, Li Chufang, Zhao Jin, Jia Zhenhua, Jiang Haiming, Zheng Kui, Huang Shuxiang, Dai Jun, Li Xiaobo, Hou Xiaotao, Wang Lin, Zhong Nanshan, Yang Zifeng
Pharmacological Research: the Official Journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society 2020, 156: 104761
32205232

PURPOSE: Lianhuaqingwen (LH) as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula has been used to treat influenza and exerted broad-spectrum antiviral effects on a series of influenza viruses and immune regulatory effects Ding et al. (2017). The goal of this study is to demonstrate the antiviral activity of LH against the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and its potential effect in regulating host immune response.

METHODS: The antiviral activity of LH against SARS-CoV-2 was assessed in Vero E6 cells using CPE and plaque reduction assay. The effect of LH on virion morphology was visualized under transmission electron microscope. Pro-inflammatory cytokine expression levels upon SARS-CoV-2 infection in Huh-7 cells were measured by real-time quantitative PCR assays.

RESULTS: LH significantly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in Vero E6 cells and markedly reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, CCL-2/MCP-1 and CXCL-10/IP-10) production at the mRNA levels. Furthermore, LH treatment resulted in abnormal particle morphology of virion in cells.

CONCLUSIONS: LH significantly inhibits the SARS-COV-2 replication, affects virus morphology and exerts anti-inflammatory activity in vitro. These findings indicate that LH protects against the virus attack, making its use a novel strategy for controlling the COVID-19 disease.

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