In a recent article published in the Clinical Microbiology Reviews, scientists at National Centre for Veterinary Type Cultures of ICAR-NRC on Equines, Hisar (Haryana) have discussed potential benefits of host-directed antiviral therapy.
It is to be noted that they have identified several antiviral agents against different groups of viruses in the past as well.
According to the ICAR website, Coronaviruses have wide host range; infect birds and mammals including bats. The coronaviruses are the largest RNA viruses with a genome length of ~30 Kb (27-31 Kb).
The degree of genetic similarity among various coronaviruses varies in the range of 60-99%. But, a certain degree of cross-protection does exist among the coronavirus originated from human beings & animals.
Upon the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, scientists at ICAR-NRCE evaluated the antiviral efficacy of some natural products.
According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s website, most of the natural products act indirectly by regulating host responses thereby mimics host-directed antiviral therapy.
The infection model of the chicken coronavirus, also known as infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), was used in the study to investigate the antiviral effect of certain herbal plants.
In a preliminary study, a natural product (namely VTC-antiC1) gave encouraging results against IBV Coronavirus.
At a non-cytotoxic concentration, VTC-AntiC1 was able to completely protect chicken embryos upon lethal IBV challenge infection.
In addition to this, the growth of the embryos in VTC-anntiC1-treated group was much better than the vehicle-control-treated group, as per the research.
Besides, VTCAntiC1 also showed a potent in vitro (Vero cells) antiviral efficacy against some other RNA (Newcastle disease virus) and DNA (buffalopox virus) viruses.
Thus, the study suggests that VTC-anntiC1 may be repurposed to treat COVID-19 patients due to its potential to treat the deadly contagion.