West African medicinal plants and their constituent compounds as treatments for viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19

This article was originally published here

Daru. 2022 Apr 27. doi: 10.1007/s40199-022-00437-9. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The recent emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic (caused by SARS-CoV-2) and the experience of its unprecedented alarming toll on humanity has shone a spotlight on weak global pandemic preparedness , the significant inequalities in health and the fragility of health systems in certain regions of the world. It is imperative to identify effective drug treatments for COVID-19. Therefore, the objective of this review is to present a unique and contextualized collection of herbal or natural antiviral remedies from the West African sub-region as existing or potential treatments for viral infections, including COVID-19, in focusing on their mechanisms of action.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: Evidence was synthesized from the literature using appropriate keywords as search terms in scientific databases such as Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar.

RESULTS: While some vaccines and small molecule drugs are now available to fight COVID-19, access to these therapeutic entities in many countries is still quite limited. Moreover, significant aspects of the symptomatology, pathophysiology and long-term prognosis of the infection still remain unknown. The existing therapeutic arsenal therefore requires significant expansion. There is evidence that natural products with antiviral effects have been used to successfully manage symptoms of COVID-19 and could be developed as anti-COVID-19 agents that act via host-based molecular targets and the virus.

CONCLUSION: Natural products could be successfully harnessed to treat viral infections/diseases, including COVID-19. Building natural product research capacity in developing countries is therefore a key strategy to reduce health inequalities, improve global health and improve preparedness for future pandemics.

PMID:35476297 | DOI:10.1007/s40199-022-00437-9

Alvin J. Chase