Prospects of Coffee Leaf against SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Int J Biol Sci. 2022 Jul 11;18(12):4677-4689. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.76058. eCollection 2022.


In the current climate, many countries are in dire need of effective preventive methods to curb the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. The purpose of this research is to screen and explore natural plant extracts that have the potential to against SARS-CoV-2 and provide alternative options for SARS-CoV-2 prevention and hand sanitizer or spray-like disinfectants. We first used Spike-ACE2 ELISA and TMPRSS2 fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assays to screen extracts from agricultural by-products from Taiwan with the potential to impede SARS-CoV-2 infection. Next, the SARS-CoV-2 pseudo-particles (Vpp) infection assay was tested to validate the effectiveness. We identified an extract from coffee leaf (Coffea Arabica), a natural plant that effectively inhibited wild-type SARS-CoV-2, and five Variants of Concern (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron strain) from entering host cells. In an attempt to apply coffee leaf extract for hand sanitizer or spray-like disinfectants, we designed a skin-like gelatin membrane experiment. We showed that the high concentration of coffee leaf extract on the skin surface could block SARS-CoV-2 into cells more potently than 75% Ethanol, a standard disinfectant to inactivate SARS-CoV-2. Finally, LC-HRMS analysis was used to identify compounds such as caffeine, chlorogenic acid (CGA), quinic acid, and mangiferin that are associated with an anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. Our results demonstrated that coffee leaf extract, an agricultural by-product effectively inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Vpp infection through an ACE2-dependent mechanism and may be utilized to develop products against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Keywords: ACE2; Coffee leaf; SARS-CoV-2; Spike; skin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • COVID-19*
  • Coffea* / chemistry
  • Hand Sanitizers*
  • Plant Extracts* / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts* / therapeutic use
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus


  • Hand Sanitizers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2