The Significance of Natural Product Derivatives and Traditional Medicine for COVID-19


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). To date, there have been more than 10 million reported cases, more than 517,000 deaths in 215 countries, areas or territories. There is no effective antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. Natural products and traditional medicine products with known safety profiles are a promising source for the discovery of new drug leads. There is increasing number of publications reporting the effect of natural products and traditional medicine products on COVID-19. In our review, we provide an overview of natural products and their derivatives or mimics, as well as traditional medicine products, which were reported to exhibit potential to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro, and to manage COVID-19 in vivo, or in clinical reports or trials. These natural products and traditional medicine products are categorized in several classes: (1) anti-malaria drugs including chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, (2) antivirals including nucleoside analogs (remdesivir, favipiravir, β-D-N4-hydroxycytidine, ribavirin and among others), lopinavir/ritonavir and arbidol, (3) antibiotics including azithromycin, ivermectin and teicoplanin, (4) anti-protozoal drug, emetine, anti-cancer drug, homoharringtonine, and others, as well as (5) traditional medicine (Lian Hua Qing Wen Capsule, Shuang Huang Lian Oral Liquid, Qingfei Paidu Decoction and Scutellariae Radix). Randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled large clinical trials are needed to provide solid evidence for the potential effective treatment. Currently, drug repurposing is a promising strategy to quickly find an effective treatment for COVID-19. In addition, carefully combined cocktails need to be examined for preventing a COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting global health concerns.

Read full text: Wang D, Huang J, Yeung AWK, Tzvetkov NT, Horbańczuk JO, Willschke H, Gai Z, Atanasov AG. The Significance of Natural Product Derivatives and Traditional Medicine for COVID-19. Processes. 2020; 8(8):937.

Keywords: SARS-CoV; coronavirus; traditional Chinese medicine; COVID-19; natural products; natural product derivatives; traditional medicine; #NaturalProducts; #COVID19. 

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