Indian scientists say that Kangra tea could be effective in boosting our immunity as they potentially block coronavirus activity better than the anti-HIV drugs. Scientists at the CSIR's Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT) published a research paper in a peer-reviewed Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, this April.
Basing themselves on computer models, the researchers screened 65 bioactive chemicals potential in binding to a specific viral protein, being more efficient than the available anti-HIV drugs currently used to treat COVID-19 patients, Sanjay Kumar told Times of India, who is the director of the Palampur-based IHBT and part of this research. Kumar, along with other scientists published the paper named "Identification of bioactive molecules from tea plant as SARS-CoV-2 main protease inhibitors."
Tea Chemicals Blocks Viral Activity
He further said, "These chemicals might block the activity of the viral protein that helps the virus to thrive inside human cells." The report explains how Kangra tea could be effective in boosting immunity. This came at a time when the Indian Council of Medical Research is expected to replace hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) with anti-HIV drugs in order to reduce viral replication and boost immunity, according to its revised coronavirus protocol.
Based on Computer-Based Models
So far the researchers have only screened the Kagra tea chemicals harnessing computer-based models. "We have now got a lead. We will now carry out further validation study," Kumar said.
The study concludes, "This study showed Oolonghomobisflavan-A as a potential bioactive molecule to act as an inhibitor for the Mpro of SARS-CoV-2." Further, these Tea extracts showed to be an important constituent in hand sanitizers and herbal soaps that are recently developed.
The research comes after a previous study in which Indian and Japanese scientists claimed that Ashwagandha (a popular medicinal herb in Ayurveda system) might be an efficient drug for novel coronavirus.
Kumar and the team also reported that natural chemicals from 'Ashwagandha' combined with the right proportions of New Zealand's 'Propolis' could be potential as an anti-COVID-19 drug candidate, according to a science ministry's paper on the work of various institutions towards fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
DAILAB teams at Indian Institute of Technology - Delhi and AIST Japan are also known to be working on natural compounds from Ashwagandha and Propolis for many years, said the ministry.