The University of Hong Kong School of Medicine discovered the Chinese medicine ‘suberect spatholobi’ Extract

The Faculty of Chinese Medicine, Li Ka Shing School of Medicine, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), together with researchers from the AIDS Research Institute, the Department of Microbiology, the School of Clinical Medicine, and the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, It was found that the extract of caulis spatholobi (SSP) had extensive antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, influenza and HIV-1 viruses. More importantly, SSP was found to suppress SARS-CoV-2 virus variants extensively. Since SSP can be extracted at low cost and under quality control, and no toxicity has been found in animal studies, it has the potential to be developed as a drug to prevent SARS-CoV-2 virus. The results have been published in Phytotherapy Research.

Nearly three years into the global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the escape of immunity from vaccines by variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus poses a major challenge around the world. However, the speed of vaccine development is not nearly as fast as the rate of virus mutation. Therefore, it is necessary to develop alternative response methods to stop the spread of the virus, and cost-effective antiviral agents may play a key role in controlling the outbreak.

In this study, it was found that SSP showed extensive inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, H5N1 influenza virus and HIV-1 AIDS virus, and was also quite potent against SARS-CoV-2 variants. These include Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P1), Delta (B.1.617.2), and Omicron (BA.1, BA.2, and BA.4/5). The active components of suberect spatholobi can adhere to the respiratory mucosa for a long time, block the ACE2 receptor on the body cells, thereby blocking the binding of the virus to the receptor on the cell membrane, blocking the virus invasion, and directly inhibiting the virus.

Spatholobus Suberectus Dunn (Spatholobus Suberectus Dunn) has been used for more than 20 years as a potential prophylactic agent against SARS-CoV-2, which could be used to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, there are only a few preventive drugs in the world. We hope that this Chinese medicine can be developed into a new preventive agent for the virus.” She added that the mouse model was not toxic at either high or low doses of SSP, so the use of SSP was safe.

Dr Li Lau, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Clinical Medicine and Institute of AIDS, HKU School of Medicine, also pointed out: “The results demonstrate that SSP may have broad antiviral activity against different types of respiratory viral infections, preventing the virus from binding to cells. We are confident in the clinical development of SSP as different GMP-validated batches have shown consistent antiviral activity.

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