A range of foods and beverages, including dark chocolate, green tea, and muscadine grapes could be a secret weapon in the fight against Covid-19. New research has revealed they contain compounds that can kill the virus.
Scientists studied what happened when the virus that causes Covid-19 – SARS-CoV-2 – came up against chemical compounds found in plants known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Fascinatingly, they discovered that compounds from green tea, two varieties of muscadine grapes, cacao powder, and dark chocolate were able to bind to a particular enzyme, or protease, in the virus and stop it reproducing.
The researchers, from North Carolina State University, carried out lab studies and computer simulations to examine how the so-called main protease (Mpro) in the coronavirus reacted to the plant compounds.
“Mpro in SARS-CoV-2 is required for the virus to replicate and assemble itself. If we can inhibit or deactivate this protease, the virus will die,” the study’s corresponding author, DeYu Xie, explained.
The investigations discovered that the chemical compounds found in the foods and drinks fill up a ‘pocket’ in the Mpro, rendering it useless, effectively stopping the virus from replicating.
“Green tea has five tested chemical compounds that bind to different sites in the pocket on Mpro, essentially overwhelming it to inhibit its function,” Xie said.
“Muscadine grapes contain these inhibitory chemicals in their skins and seeds. Plants use these compounds to protect themselves, so it is not surprising that plant leaves and skins contain these beneficial compounds.”
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