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Review Article

An Update on Promising Agents against COVID-19: Secondary Metabolites and Mechanistic Aspects

[ Vol. 28 , Issue. 29 ]


Maryam Jamshidnia, Robert D.E. Sewell and Mahmoud Rafieian-Kopaei*   Pages 2415 - 2425 ( 11 )


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and is associated with a high level of mortality.

Objective: This updated review aims to present the most important traditional medicinal plants and some of their secondary metabolites that have previously and more recently been shown to affect viruses and may represent a beneficial contributory step against SARS-CoV-2 as the cause of COVID-19. Moreover, the mechanism aspects of these secondary metabolites were discussed, which may help find more reliable drugs against SARSCoV- 2.

Methods: Articles were searched on scientific websites including Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, and IranMedex using the search terms herbal medicine and traditional medicine with coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19. Human, animal, and in vitro studies were identified in the search.

Results: Medicinal plants and their secondary metabolites may possess a potential role in combating this disease, and researchers suggest that some of these plants and their constituent compounds have inhibitory activity on coronaviruses. Numerous medicinal plants, their extracts, and secondary metabolites have been investigated over a period of time for antiviral activity. Among them, kaempferol, silybin, myricitrin, licoleafol, and curcumin are promising agents with potential activity against SARS-CoV-2. Natural compounds can form strong bonds with the active sites of SARS-CoV-2 protease. Structural and non-structural SARS-CoV-2 proteins such as Spike protein, PLpro, and 3CLpro are inhibited by these phytochemicals.

Conclusion: Prospective treatments targeted at the life cycle stages of the virus may eventuate from research endeavors, and it must not be discounted that therapy originally derived from plant secondary metabolite sources may potentially have a part to play.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), SARS-CoV-2, secondary metabolites, medicinal plants, natural compounds, phytochemicals.


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