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Can corilagin, a plant compound used in Chinese herbal medicine, aid in the prevention of COVID-19?

The extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-caused coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is now spreading across the world.


Chinese herbal medicines have shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of ailments. Their active ingredients have the potential to help against infections.

Corilagin, which has shown antiviral activity against viruses such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV), has been discovered to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection by inhibiting the interaction between the spike p and the virus.


Corilagin (a derivative of Phyllanthus urinaria) was identified as a possible SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitor in the study, which was published in the journal Phytomedicine.

Corilagin is a Phyllanthus urinaria-derived compound. Hasnia / Shutterstock / Hasnia / Shutterstock / Hasnia / Shutterstock

Interaction between RBD and ACE2


Spike proteins protrude across the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, giving it its crown-like appearance. It belongs to the subgenus Sarbecoviruses (or thocoronavirinae) family of enveloped and single-stranded RNA viruses. Furthermore, the genome of SARS-CoV-2 includes replicases such as papain-like protein (PLpro), 3-chymotrypsin-like protein (3CLpro), helicase, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). All of these enzymes are essential for virus replication to take place.

The spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M), and nucleocapsid (N) proteins are the four structural proteins found in SARS-CoV-2. Each one has a role to play in the infection.


The spike protein binds to the receptors on the host cell and causes membrane fusion. The spike has a receptor-binding domain (RBD) that binds to human ACE2, which is the virus's cellular portal for entry and infection.


The discovery of a new small-molecule inhibitor that targets the spike's RBD could aid in the prevention of COVID-19 by preventing SARS-CoV-2 from entering and replicating in host cells.

The research

Corilagin has been identified as a small-molecule inhibitor for targeting the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein RBD and blocking the fusion between the RBD and human ACE2 in the current research.


To arrive at the study's conclusions, the researchers screened over 1,800 natural compounds for SARS-CoV-2 spike-RBD inhibitors. They used a combination of numerical docking and bio-layer interferometry. Via assays, the researchers discovered corilagin, which has a good binding affinity for SARS-CoV-2-RBD or human ACE2 protein.


The active ingredient also inhibits RBD-ACE2 fusion, which is the first step in infection, according to the researchers. Finally, the team used MTT assay to search for corilagin toxicity.

Finally, the researchers discovered corilagin, a small-molecule inhibitor that targets the RBD of spike protein in SARS-CoV-2. Corilagin prevents spike-RBD binding on the ACE2 receptor, removing the infectious property of RBD-pseudotyped lentivirus in hACE2 overexpressing HEK293 cells, which is analogous to the viral infection of SARS-CoV-2 in human cells, according to the report.

Corilagin could be used in future research to develop new drugs and therapies to avoid SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to the researchers.

Content created and supplied by: LEGEND663 (via Opera News )

Chinese Corilagin EBV Phyllanthus SARS-CoV-2

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