Amidst the on-going global efforts to develop cost effective therapeutic options against the novel Coronavirus infection, a recent study by a team of researchers at IIT Delhi’s Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS) stated that tea (both black and green tea) and haritaki (commonly known as Harad in Hindi) extracts may provide a way fight against the virus. The findings of the research, led by Prof Ashok Kumar Patel, were published in Phytotherapy Research, an impactful journal in the area.

As per the official release on IIT Delhi’s website, “There have been worldwide efforts for developing cost effective therapeutic options, which can curb the severity of the viral disease in humans, with minimal toxicity. In this context, medicinal plants may provide a way to treat the disease by targeting specific essential proteins of the virus.”

The researchers screened 51 medicinal plants for the experiment. The findings showed that aqueous extracts from black and green tea, as well as haritaki have potential anti-viral activity “via in-vitro inhibition of the proteolytic activity of the main protease of the virus 3CL pro showing potential therapeutic candidates for the SARS-CoV-2 infection, which should be further validated in in-vivo models.”

However, trials are needed to prove the authenticity of these medicinal plants as potential drug to fight against Covid-19 infections.

“The findings (accepted for revision by a peer reviewed journal) suggest the possibility of Gallotannin to emerge as a potential therapeutic candidate against SARS-CoV-2 in future. However, larger randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicentre clinical trials would be further needed,” said Prof Patel, KSBS, IIT Delhi.

“Indian herbal and medicinal plants have a vast repository of bioactive components useful in combating many diseases. In this context, the beneficial effects of the tea in eliciting relief for COVID related conditions have been increasingly evidenced. The study carried out by Prof Patel and his group further revealed the effect of tea in inhibiting the nCoV protease, which will have significant implications once substantiated in vivo,” said Dr S.K. Khare, Dean, R&D and Professor, Chemistry, IIT Delhi.

The research team led by Prof Patel include: Saurabh Upadhyay (PhD student), Praveen Kumar Tripathi (PhD student), Dr. Siva Raghavendhar (Post Doc), Mohit Bharadwaj (Research Fellow) and Dr. Manju Singh (Ayurvedic physician at Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi).

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