Purpose: Lianhuaqingwen (LH) as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula has been used to treat influenza and exerted broad-spectrum antiviral effects on a series of influenza viruses and immune regulatory effects Ding et al. (2017). The goal of this study is to demonstrate the antiviral activity of LH against the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus and its potential effect in regulating host immune response.
Methods: The antiviral activity of LH against SARS-CoV-2 was assessed in Vero E6 cells using CPE and plaque reduction assay. The effect of LH on virion morphology was visualized under transmission electron microscope. Pro-inflammatory cytokine expression levels upon SARS-CoV-2 infection in Huh-7 cells were measured by real-time quantitative PCR assays.
Results: LH significantly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in Vero E6 cells and markedly reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, CCL-2/MCP-1 and CXCL-10/IP-10) production at the mRNA levels. Furthermore, LH treatment resulted in abnormal particle morphology of virion in cells.
Conclusions: LH significantly inhibits the SARS-COV-2 replication, affects virus morphology and exerts anti-inflammatory activity in vitro. These findings indicate that LH protects against the virus attack, making its use a novel strategy for controlling the COVID-19 disease.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Coronavirus; Lianhuaqingwen; SARS-CoV-2.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.