Research in Marburg and Gießen: active ingredient inhibits coronaviruses


An employee of the Baden-Württemberg State Health Office opens a sample that contains a smear of a 2019 nCoV suspected case. Symbolic photo: dpa

GIESSEN – An artificial virus inhibitor pushes back pathogens like the corona virus, but works just as well against other dangerous viruses like the Lassa or the Zika virus. This has been discovered by a nationwide research group in which scientists from the two universities in central Hesse are also involved. The results have now been published in the specialist journal “Antiviral Research”, says a press release from the Justus Liebig University (JLU).

The natural product Silvestrol is obtained from Asian mahogany plants, which are used in Borneo as traditional medicinal plants for a variety of diseases. The substance blocks an enzyme that is found in body cells; it is needed by invaded viruses that can make their own proteins from this enzyme to multiply. By inhibiting the enzyme, Silvestrol works against a whole range of dangerous pathogens such as Ebola, Lassa and Corona viruses.