A plant to protect against coronavirus: the discovery of these Belgian researchers
A team of Belgian researchers, led by Prof. Wim Vanden Berghe (University of Antwerp), demonstrated the protective antiviral effect of “purple echinacea” extract. The plant shows very promising effects against several respiratory viruses including the coronavirus. “The plant fights various viruses responsible for respiratory infections, including the coronavirus. It also decreases the risk of infection,” said researchers from the University of Antwerp.
After the emergence of the SARS-CoV2 virus in 2020, biomedical experts were looking to develop additional protection against the virus to ease the burden of the pandemic on the healthcare sector. Prof. Vanden Berghe focused on the effects of the pharmacological preparation “Echinacea purpurea”, derived from the purple echinacea flower.
The first laboratory results were positive: the plant strengthens innate antiviral immunity. In three subsequent clinical studies, scientists examined the effects of the plant extract on adults and children. Always with promising results.
Purple echinacea reduces the overall number of colds, the researchers observed. “The extract of this plant inhibits viral colds and prevents respiratory virus infections. In the study in children, it even reduced the viral load in nasal secretions by 98%, which significantly reduces viral infectivity,” revealed the Antwerp researchers.
They do not plan to release the product until further research is done to determine the exact mechanism of protection.
“Confirmation in larger clinical studies is also desirable. We will now work with the collected clinical samples to find out exactly how echinacea supports our immune system,” concluded Prof. Vanden Berghe.
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