STATEMENT: Andrographis paniculata is used as herbal medicine by Thailand government for Covid-19 treatment

TITLE: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of Andrographis paniculata extract and its major component Andrographolide in human lung epithelial cells and cytotoxicity evaluation in major organ cell representatives

DEC 8, 2020

Written by Sa-ngiamsuntorn K, Suksatu A,Pewkliang Y, Thongsri P, Kanjanasirirat P, Manopwisedjaroen S, Charoensutthivarakul S, Wongtrakoongate P, Pitiporn S, Khemawoot P, Chutipongtanate S, Borwornpinyo S, Thithithanyanont A, Hongeng S.

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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has become a major health problem affecting more than fifty million cases with over one million deaths globally. The effective antivirals are still lacking. Here, we optimized a high-content imaging platform and the plaque assay for viral output study using the legitimate model of human lung epithelial cells, Calu-3, to determine anti-SARS-CoV–2 activity of Andrographis paniculata extract and its major component andrographolide. SARS-CoV-2 at 25TCID50 was able to reach the maximal infectivity of 95% in Calu-3 cells. Post-infection treatment of A. paniculata and andrographolide in SARS-CoV–2 infected Calu-3 cells significantly inhibited the production of infectious virions with the IC50 of 0.036 μg/mL and 0.034 μM, respectively, as determined by plaque assay. The cytotoxicity profile developed over the cell line representatives of major organs, including liver (HepG2 and imHC), kidney (HK-2), intestine (Caco-2), lung (Calu-3) and brain (SH-SY5Y), showed the CC50 of >100 μg/mL for A. paniculata extract and 13.2-81.5 μM for andrographolide, respectively, corresponding to the selectivity index over 380. In conclusion, this study provided experimental evidence in favor of A. paniculata and andrographolide for further development as a monotherapy or in combination with other effective drugs against SARS-CoV–2 infection.

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One of prominent medicinal plants with various pharmacological activities is Andrographis paniculate, known as “King of bitters”, which belongs to Acanthaceae family. A. paniculate is currently used in the traditional medicine to treat common cold, diarrhea, fever due to several infectious causes, and as a health tonic. In conclusion, this study demonstrated anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of A. paniculata and andrographolide using Calu-3-based anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay. Potent anti-SAR-CoV-2 activities, together with the favorable cytotoxicity profiles, support further development of A. paniculata extract and especially andrographolide as a monotherapy or in combination with other effective drugs against SARS-CoV–2 infection.