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In Vitro Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activities of Curcumin and Selected Phenolic Compounds

Mohd Abd Razak et al., Natural Product Communications, doi:10.1177/1934578X231188861
Sep 2023  
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In vitro study showing that of 9 phenolic compounds tested, only curcumin inhibited SARS-CoV-2 cytopathic effects in infected monkey kidney Vero E6 cells. Curcumin showed antiviral activity against wildtype, alpha, delta, and omicron variants, with EC50 values around 25µM for the variants and 13.63µM for the wildtype, but with a low selectivity index (SI < 5). Curcumin was more effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection in human lung A549 cells expressing ACE2 and TMPRSS2 receptors, with an EC50 of 4.57μM and a higher selectivity index of 7.96. Curcumin also inhibited SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-ACE2 interaction and 3CL protease activity at 10-20μM concentrations. The results suggest curcumin has moderate antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 through multiple targets, although bioavailability may limit efficacy, requiring formulations for improved bioavailability.
Positive controls andrographolide, chloroquine, and remdesivir inhibited the viral-induced CPE with EC50 values of less than 10μM with a high selectivity index (SI ≥ 10).
Study covers curcumin, HCQ, remdesivir, and andrographolide.
Mohd Abd Razak et al., 16 Sep 2023, peer-reviewed, 11 authors. Contact:
In Vitro studies are an important part of preclinical research, however results may be very different in vivo.
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In Vitro Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activities of Curcumin and Selected Phenolic Compounds
Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Abd Razak, Nur Hana Md Jelas, Amirrudin Muhammad, Noorsofiana Padlan, Muhammad Nor Farhan Sa’at, Muhammad Afif Azizan, Siti Nur Zawani Rosli, E Kavithambigai Ellan, Murizal Zainol, Ravindran Thayan, Ami Fazlin Syed Mohamed
Natural Product Communications, doi:10.1177/1934578x231188861
Since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many reports have highlighted several potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug candidates, including phenolic compounds. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of nine common phenolic compounds found in plants using the in vitro cellular infection model. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of curcumin, quercetin, gallic acid, catechin, rutin, kaempferol, naringenin, coumaric acid and caffeic acid were evaluated on SARS-CoV-2-infected Vero E6 cells by using a cytopathic effect (CPE)-based assay. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in human lung cells, A549 expressing human ACE2 and TMPRSS2, was evaluated by the RT-qPCR technique. S1-ACE2 interaction and 3CL protease activity assays were also performed for the potent compound. Of the nine phenolic compounds, only curcumin inhibited the SARS-CoV-2 induced CPE activity (EC 50 of 13.63 µM) in Vero E6 cells, but with a low selective index (SI) value. Interestingly, curcumin exhibited potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in A549 cells with an EC 50 of 4.57 µM and an SI value of 7.96. S1-ACE2 interaction and 3CL protease inhibitory activities of curcumin were also observed. In conclusion, curcumin showed a moderate in vitro anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. The true potential of curcumin as an anti-SARS-CoV-2 candidate could be further evaluated in a COVID-19 animal model.
Additional Information The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author. Declaration of Conflicting Interests The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Ethical Approval Ethical Approval is not applicable for this article. ORCID iD Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Abd Razak Statement of Human and Animal Rights This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects. Informed Consent There are no human subjects in this article and informed consent is not applicable.
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