Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi has found a potentiall cure to COVID-19. They have found this cure in a Himalayan plant. According to researchers of IIT and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), phytochemical-rich petals of Himalayan plant Rhododendron arboreum could potentially be used to treat COVID-19 infection. The plant is called ‘Buransh’ and has antiviral activity. They believe that the plant can fight against the virus.
Journal Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics has published the findings of the research. The team of researchers said that they are trying to understand the nature of the virus and finding new ways to prevent the infection.
“While vaccination is one route to providing the body with the fighting power against the virus, there is a worldwide search for non-vaccine medicines that can prevent viral invasion of the human body. These medicines use chemicals that either bind to the receptors in our body cells and prevent the virus from entering them or act on the virus itself and prevent its replication inside our bodies, ” said Shyam Kumar Masakapalli, Associate Professor, IIT Mandi’s School of Basic Science.
“Among the different types of therapeutic agents being studied, phytochemicals (chemicals derived from plants) are considered particularly promising because of their synergistic activity and natural source with fewer toxicity issues. We are hunting for promising molecules from the Himalayan flora using multi-disciplinary approaches,” Kumar said.
They petals of this Himalayan plant are consumed by locals for various health benefits.
“The team scientifically tested the extracts containing various phytochemicals in it, with particular focus on antiviral activity. The researchers extracted the phytochemicals from the Buransh petals and performed biochemical assays and computational simulation studies to understand its antiviral properties,” Masakapalli said.
The team is trying to understand the precise mechanism of inhibition of COVID-19 replication by specific phytochemicals from Buransh petals.