In vitro efficacy of Artemisia extracts against SARS-CoV-2

Virol J. 2021 Sep 8;18(1):182. doi: 10.1186/s12985-021-01651-8.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Artemisia / chemistry*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Coronavirus, Feline / drug effects
  • Coronavirus, Feline / growth & development
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / drug effects*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / growth & development
  • Viral Plaque Assay


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Plant Extracts