Special Infectious Agent Unit in King Fahd Medical Research Center at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has pursed the anti-viral project field to optimize the group of medicinal plants for human-infectious diseases. We have begun virtually in this field since COVID-19 pandemic, besides our divergence in the infectious agents. In this study and based on the previous review, Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) and Echinacea (gaia HERBS®) were tested in vitro using Vero E6 cells for their anti-viral effects against the newly identified Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) through its infectious cycle from 0 to 48 hours post infection. The hypericin (0.9 mg) of H. perforatum and the different parts (roots, seeds, aerial) of two types of Echinacea species (Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia) were examined their efficacy in certain concentration and under light-dependent anti-viral activities to measure the inhibition of the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA expression of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) gene and the viral load with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), and to assess the neutralization of the SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor binding on cell culture assay. Interestingly, the mixture (H.E.) of 100 mg/ mL of H. perforatum and Echinacea was tested too on SARS-CoV-2 and showed crucial anti-viral activity competing H. perforatum then Echinacea effects as antiviral treatment. Therefore, the results of gaia HERBS® products, H. perforatum and Echinacea species, applied in this study showed significant anti-viral and virucidal effects in the following order of potency: H. perforatum, H.E., and Echinacea on SARS-CoV-2 infectious cycle; and will definitely require a setup of clinical trial with specific therapeutic protocol based on the outcome of this study.
Leena Hussein Bajrai, Sherif Ali El-Kafrawy, Rabie Saleh Alnahas , Esam Ibraheem Azhar