Research Papers

Berberine May Be Used as a Potential Therapy for Covid-19 Due to its Anti-inflammatory and Anti-viral Effects


As there are limited pharmaceutical drugs that can control and prevent the spread of Covid-19, herbal medicines are urgently needed to further support the immune and respiratory system. A common herbal medicine is berberine, which has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-oxidant impacts, as well as a commonly used supplement for the regulation of blood sugar levels. These mechanisms may mean that berberine is a prospective option to protect against a Covid-19 infection. Berberine is a yellow coloured and bitter tasting chemical found in some plants like barberry, goldenseal and turmeric root. This paper looks at the role of berberine as an anti-viral and how it could work as an anti-inflammatory in relation to Covid-19. The authors found through a review of available literature that berberine is able to mitigate the inflammatory cascade by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory pathways. Berbine also shows significant anti-viral effects, making it a plausible prevention and treatment option for a Covid-19 infection.

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Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is a global diastrophic disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Covid-19 leads to inflammatory, immunological, and oxidative changes, by which SARS-CoV-2 leads to endothelial dysfunction (ED), acute lung injury (ALI), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and multi-organ failure (MOF). Despite evidence illustrating that some drugs and vaccines effectively manage and prevent Covid-19, complementary herbal medicines are urgently needed to control this pandemic disease. One of the most used herbal medicines is berberine (BBR), which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and immune-regulatory effects; thus, BBR may be a prospective candidate against SARS-CoV-2 infection. This review found that BBR has anti-SARS-CoV-2 effects with mitigation of associated inflammatory changes. BBR also reduces the risk of ALI/ARDS in Covid-19 patients by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory signaling pathways. In conclusion, BBR has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral effects. Therefore, it can be utilized as a possible anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent. BBR inhibits the proliferation of SARS-CoV-2 and attenuates the associated inflammatory disorders linked by the activation of inflammatory signaling pathways. Indeed, BBR can alleviate ALI/ARDS in patients with severe Covid-19. In this sense, clinical trials and prospective studies are suggested to illustrate the potential role of BBR in treating Covid-19.

Article Publication Date: 2/10/2022
DOI: 10.1007/s10787-022-01080-1

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