Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 104761
[Online ahead of print]

Lianhuaqingwen Exerts Anti-Viral and Anti-Inflammatory Activity Against Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)


Lianhuaqingwen Exerts Anti-Viral and Anti-Inflammatory Activity Against Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

Li Runfeng et al. Pharmacol Res.


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 [1]. 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: Lianhuaqingwen; SARS-CoV-2; anti-inflammatory; coronavirus.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Cytotoxic effect of the LH and remdesivir on Vero E6 cells (A, B) and Huh-7 cells (C, D). Data are presented as mean ± SD. The experiments were performed in triplicate.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Antiviral activity of LH and remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells. (A, B) The inhibitory curve for LH and remdesivir. (C) Plaque reduction assay of LH against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Data are representative of three independent experiments.
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Virions in the ultra sections of infected Vero E6 cells under electron microscope. (A, F) uninfected cells, (B, G) mock-treated SARS-CoV-2 virus infected cells, (C, D, H, I) infected cells with LH treatment, (E, J) infected cells with remdesivir treatment. White arrows indicated the spindle sharp of viral particles in infected cells with LH treatment.
Fig. 4
Fig. 4
Effects of LH treatment on the mRNA expression levels of inflammatory mediators in SARS-CoV-2-infected Huh-7 cells. A: TNF-α, B: IL-6, C: CCL-2/MCP-1, D: CXCL-10/IP-10. Data are presented as the mean ± SD obtained from three separate experiments. *p <  0.05; **p <  0.01; ***p <  0.001, compared with mock-treated cells.

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Ding Y. The Chinese prescription lianhuaqingwen capsule exerts anti-influenza activity through the inhibition of viral propagation and impacts immune function. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):130. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Fung T.S., Liu D.X. Human Coronavirus: Host-Pathogen Interaction. Annu Rev Microbiol. 2019;73:529–557. - PubMed
    1. Du Toit A. Outbreak of a novel coronavirus. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2020
    1. Carlos W.G. Novel Wuhan (2019-nCoV) Coronavirus. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2020
    1. Nkengasong J. China’s response to a novel coronavirus stands in stark contrast to the 2002 SARS outbreak response. Nat Med. 2020