Background: Traditional medicines based on herbal extracts have been proposed as affordable treatments for patients suffering from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Teas and drinks containing extracts of Artemisia annua and Artemisia afra have been widely used in Africa in efforts to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and fight COVID-19.
Methods: The plant extracts and Covid-Organics drink produced in Madagascar were tested for plaque reduction using both feline coronavirus and SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Their cytotoxicities were also investigated.
Results: Several extracts as well as Covid-Organics inhibited SARS-CoV-2 and FCoV infection at concentrations that did not affect cell viability.
Conclusions: Some plant extracts show inhibitory activity against FCoV and SARS-CoV-2. However, it remains unclear whether peak plasma concentrations in humans can reach levels needed to inhibit viral infection following consumption of teas or Covid-Organics. Clinical studies are required to evaluate the utility of these drinks for COVID-19 prevention or treatment of patients.
Keywords: Antivirals; Artemisia afra; Artemisia annua; COVID-19; Covid-organics; Feline coronavirus (FCoV); SARS-CoV-2.
© 2021. The Author(s).