A natural hub Neem, which is known for its pesticidal and medicinal properties, is now found to be useful in treating and reducing the spread of Coronavirus. A recent study has suggested that this may be actually possible. According to a study at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata, the extract from the bark of the indigenous Neem tree has helped treat malaria, stomach ulcers, skin diseases and many other diseases.
A team of IISER researchers has recently published their findings in the journal Virology. The study shows that components of neem bark may target a wide range of viral proteins, suggesting its potential as an antiviral agent against emerging variants of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
India researchers investigated the impact of the bark extract against coronaviruses in their laboratories. The scientists have tested it in animal models and showed that it had antiviral properties against Coronavirus. Using computer modeling, the researchers predicted that Neem bark extract will bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at various locations, preventing virus entry to host cells.
"The goal of this research is to develop a Neem-based medication that can reduce the risk of serious illness when someone is infected with coronaviruses," said study co-author Maria Nagel, research professor in the department of neurology and ophthalmology at the varsity's School of Medicine on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.
This research could guide new antiviral therapeutic efforts to combat the ongoing pandemic while holding out the promise for treating new coronavirus strains, the scientists said.