Could a Plant-Based Antiviral Drug Be the Key to Curing COVID-19? Scientists have just discovered a new plant-derived antiviral drug that appears to effectively treat coronavirus symptoms, giving one more tool to doctors treating patients.

Many doctors already are espousing a plant-based diet for their patients at high risk of seveere symptoms or who have high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These doctors are urging their patients to go plant-based for their health and to help them lower inflammation and allow their immune systems to be fortified and less vulnerable in the face of the unrelenting coronavirus spread. It seems like many are getting the memo between the skyrocketing sales of plant-based meats and surveys have found that 30% of seniors are eating more plant-based to be healthier.

Now a  new plant-based drug appears to be “highly effective” against the coronavirus, as well as the common cold, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the influenza A virus. As just reported, new research published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Viruses shows that researchers at the University of Nottingham, in the UK have found a new antiviral called thapsigargin, derived from the Thapsia plant, which could be used to manage coronavirus symptoms as well as related viruses.

Female Scientist in Lab
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In their research, thapsigargin was found to trigger “a highly effective broad-spectrum host-centered antiviral innate immune response against three major types of human respiratory viruses — including Covid-19” per the University of Nottingham’s press release via EurekAlert!. Encouragingly, if research is expanded and replicated in human studies (versus animal and cell studies as the current body of research examines), this could translate into huge wins in our battle against coronavirus, as an “antiviral of this type could potentially be made available for community use to control active infection and its spread.”

Lead study author Professor Kin-Chow Chang spoke further to the researchers' findings saying: "Whilst we are still at the early stages of research into this antiviral and its impact on how viruses such as COVID-19 can be treated, these findings are hugely significant.” Beyond coronavirus, the implications for this discovery could help in other scenarios: "The current pandemic highlights the need for effective antivirals to treat active infections, as well as vaccines, to prevent the infection,” he said.

“Given that future pandemics are likely to be of animal origin, where animal to human (zoonotic) and reverse zoonotic (human to animal) spread take place, a new generation of antivirals, such as thapsigargin, could play a key role in the control and treatment of important viral infections in both humans and animals." (i.e., Since reports have linked the novel coronavirus outbreak to bats, their findings could also potentially be applied to the source of future pandemics and not only humans.)

Again future research is needed to support these scientists' hypothesis, but the preliminary findings are certainly promising. As Chang sums it up: “Although more testing is clearly needed, current findings strongly indicate that thapsigargin and its derivatives are promising antiviral treatments against COVID-19 and influenza virus, and have the potential to defend us against the next Disease X pandemic."

After nearly a year of living amid the current coronavirus pandemic, we’ll take any step in the right direction we can towards preventing any Disease X, Y, and Z pandemic of the future.

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