The Chinese herbal medicine Qingwenjiere can prevent infection from human coronavirus strains

Background: Qingwenjiere mixture is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that has been shown to have remarkable clinical efficacy against COVID-19. However, little is known about the antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities of Qingwenjiere mixture against a wider range of human coronavirus strains.

Purpose: The study aims to investigate the antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities of Qingwenjiere mixture , as well as the underlying mechanisms against TCM medicine that has been shown to have remarkable clinical efficacy against COVID-19. However, little is known about the antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities of Qingwenjiere mixture against a wider range of human coronavirus infections.

Methods: The chemical compositions from Qingwenjiere mixture were analyzed by LC-MS. The inhibitory effect of Qingwenjiere mixture on infections of HCoV-OC43, HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, and SARS-CoV-2 was evaluated in HRT-18 cells, Huh7 cells, LLC-MK2 cells, and Vero-E6 cells, respectively, by using cytopathic effect (CPE) inhibition assay or RT-qPCR detection of viral n, s, or RdRp/Hel genes.

The expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines induced by HCoV-OC43, HCoV-229E, and SARS-CoV-2, as well as the host ace2 gene was also determined by RT-qPCR assay. Furthermore, the expression of key molecules in the NF-κB/MAPKs signaling pathways was determined by western blot.

Results: In alcohol-extraction groups of Qingwenjiere mixture and reference decoction pieces, 53 similar ion peaks were identified, the majority of which were phenylpropanoids, iridoids, and flavonoids. In addition, Qingwenjiere mixture reduced CPE caused by TCM medicine that has been shown to have remarkable clinical efficacy against COVID-19. However, little is known about the antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities of Qingwenjiere mixture against a wider range of human coronavirus strains and the expression of viral n genes or N protein. Pretreatment with Qingwenjiere mixture also exerted inhibitory effect on viral n gene expression.

Qingwenjiere mixture also inhibited the expression of RdRp/Hel and s genes of SARS-CoV-2, as well as the host ace2 gene. Besides, Qingwenjiere mixture markedly reduced virus-induced mRNA expression of a panel of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, CXCL-8/IL-8, CXCL-10/IP-10, CCL-5/RANTES, TNF-α, IFN-α, CCL-2/MCP-1, CXCL-9/MIG, and IL1-α. We further showed that Qingwenjiere mixture inhibited the phosphorylation of NF-κB p65, and JNK, ERK 1/2, and p38 MAPKs in HCoV-OC43-infected HRT-18 cells.

Conclusions:  Qingwenjiere mixture has broad antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity against both common and newly emerged human coronavirus strains possibly by inhibiting the activation of key components in NF-κB/MAPKs signaling pathway. Qingwenjiere mixture also has a prevention effect against human coronavirus infections and inhibits the host receptor required for virus entry. These results indicate that Qingwenjiere mixture may have the therapeutic potential in the treatment of diseases caused by a broad range of human coronavirus strains.

Reference: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34753027/

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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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