The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is constantly mutating, which makes fighting the pandemic significantly more difficult. Scientists from the University of Nottingham decided to investigate whether there was a substance that could inhibit the multiplication of the virus in the most common variants. Tapsigarin – a compound obtained from the Apulian mug (Thapsia garganica) – turned out to be effective.
A substance of plant origin called tapsigargin strongly inhibits the multiplication in cells of all variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. According to scientists, the compound can be used to protect against and fight infection.
Strong response to viruses
Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the pages of the academic journal “Virulence” inform that obtained from the Apulian (Thapsia garganica) a compound called tapsigargin strongly blocks the multiplication of all SARS-CoV-2 variants. Plants from this family grow in the Mediterranean basin, and its juice has been used in medicine since antiquity.
Thanks to previous experience, scientists noticed that tapsigargin in low doses triggers a strong response in the body against various viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.
The rate at which the virus multiplies
Meanwhile, in the new experiments, researchers first compared the cellular activity of different variants of the coronavirus – alpha, beta, and gamma. The delta variant multiplied four times faster than the alpha variant and nine times faster than the beta variant. At the same time, it was most efficient at moving to the next cells. As it turned out, infection with different variants at once usually gave a synergistic effect – viruses accelerated each other’s replication.
However, researchers also have good news. In cell studies, all variants of the coronavirus were susceptible to the effects of tapsigargin. The substance effectively protected against infection and inhibited the already existing infection.
– The study gave us a better insight into the nature of the delta dominance. Although we have shown that it is the most infectious and promotes the production of other viruses in co-infection, we are pleased because we have shown that tapsigargin is effective against all variants, says Prof. Kin Chow Chang. Together, these results show the antiviral potential of tapsigargin for post-exposure prophylaxis and as a therapeutic substance, he adds.
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