IIT-D
AIST and IIT-D

Japan-India scientists claim Ayurvedic medicine Ashwagandha helpful in Covid-19 cure

Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and IIT-Delhi joint research on Indian ayurvedic component Ashwagandha in combinaton with propolis, an actve ingredent from New Zealand can be developed as possible drug treatment to cure Coronavirus or COVID-19.

The research by IIT-D was led by Professor D Sundar from DAILAB (DBT-AIST International Laboratory for Advanced Biomedicine) discovered that Withanone (Wi-N), a natural compound derived from Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE), an active ingredient of New Zealand propolis, have the potential to block the activity of Mpro, responsible for COVID-19 infection in the human body. Japan’s AIST has not made any such claim so far and either removed the relevant sections and pages from its website or put them Under Construction mode.

The study to be published in Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics soon, claimed that properties of the ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha have “therapeutic and preventive value” against COVID-19 infection. “SARS-CoV-2 virus genome and structure have been recently published triggering drug designing, devising and development using informatics and experimental tools, worldwide.

DAILAB and AIST Japan, working on natural compounds from Ashwagandha and propolis for last several years, explored the possibility of some of their bio-actives to interact with SARS-CoV-2,” IIT-D said in a statement. The journal JBSD ranks 57 out of 286 in the category of journals in biochemistry and molecular biology, 12 out of 73 in the category of journals in biophysics.

“The researchers targeted the main SARS-CoV-2’s enzyme for splitting proteins, known as the Main protease or Mpro that plays a key role in mediating viral replication. This is an attractive drug target for this virus… They discovered that Withanone (Wi-N), a natural compound derived from Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester (CAPE), an active ingredient of New Zealand propolis, have the potential to interact with and block the activity of Mpro,” the statement said.

Sundar said, “While the reputation of Ashwagandha as an immunity enhancer forms a basis of the recent initiative of the Indian government in forming an interdisciplinary task force to launch its clinical research studies related to SARS-CoV-2 and the Covid-19 disease, the current research report of this team provide hints on its direct anti-viral activities.”

However, Japan’s AIST has not made any such claim so far and either removed the relevant sections and pages from its website or put them Under Construction mode.

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