The struggle to find a cure for COVID-19 is still in continuation but this time this potential treatment has been coined on the basis of an actual research study. The American researchers have found that a common aromatic herb from Asia, called sweet wormwood can inhibit the replication of deadly coronavirus. However, these results are only shown in vitro tests and lack clinical trials.
Artemisia annua or A. annua a common aromatic herb that grows in the Asian region and has been used to treat malaria. Artemisinin inside this herb is largely responsible for its antimalarial effects.
Collaborative research between the scientists from Columbia, University of Washington, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have studied the effects of A. annua extracts against the deadly coronavirus which have shown its potential antiviral activity.
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This is the first-ever study where a herbal extract has successfully hindered the growth of coronavirus. However, these results are only limited to in vitro tests for now and require a detailed trial before suggesting to the infected patients.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time that this common aromatic herb has shown a medicinal effect. It has been widely used in traditional medicines especially for treating malaria. A previous study from 2005 has confirmed its antiviral effects against the SARS virus which was behind the famous SARS pandemic of 2002-2003.
In addition to that A. annua plant particularly artemisinin, a naturally occurring compound in it are linked with lowering the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels as well as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α).
In this current study, the research team arranged dried leaves of this common aromatic herb from four different locations in different continents s and checked them against coronavirus. It clearly showed an anti-coronavirus effect. It suggests that this A. annua might be helpful to treat COVID-19 and we finally have a treatment for covid patients.
This coronavirus killing effect of this common aromatic herb shares an inverse relation with its artemisinin as well as the total flavonoids inside. The activity of this plant extract was minimal when checked against the pseudoviruses which had the same spikey protein as that of the SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus).
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Although these effects are clear, they don’t build strong evidence that A. annua can be used in coronavirus treatments right away. Before recommending them to patients and doctors, it is necessary to check its effectiveness and safety levels in humans. If the results turned out positive, it might become a natural and cost-effective treatment for the deadly coronavirus.
It can be used in addition to the COVID-19 vaccines to provide 100% protection and safety from this virus which has shaken the world and caused millions of death within one year. However, it is also possible that the human trials present it as an unsuitable treatment option for coronavirus patients. In any way, it is too early to make an assumption. Only the human trials of Artemisia annua can reveal its benefits and safety levels for the COVID-19 patients.