Sun May 10th, 2020 at 09:34:18 AM EST
COVID-19: A promising cure for the global
The novel Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by SARS-CoV-2, which is the causative agent of a potentially fatal disease that is of great global public health concern. The outbreak of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc worldwide due to inadequate risk assessment regarding the urgency of the situation. The COVID-19 pandemic has entered a dangerous new phase. When compared with SARS and MERS, COVID-19 has spread more rapidly, due to increased globalization and adaptation of the virus in every environment.
- SARS-COV-2 is structurally similar to SARS-COV.
- The mechanism of SARS-COV-2 in the host cell may be comparable to SARS-COV.
- SARS-CoV-2 invade the immune and nervous system.
- There is an urgent need for novel treatment options for COVID-19.
- Indian medicinal plants are likely to be potential drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.
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Hence, the recent outburst of COVID-19 highlights an urgent need for therapeutics targeting SARS-CoV-2. Here, we have discussed the structure of virus; varying symptoms among COVID-19, SARS, MERS and common flu; the probable mechanism behind the infection and its immune response. Further, the current treatment options, drugs available, ongoing trials and recent diagnostics for COVID-19 have been discussed. We suggest traditional Indian medicinal plants as possible novel therapeutic approaches, exclusively targeting SARS-CoV-2 and its pathways.
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is in the midst of worldwide panic and global health concern since December 2019. As of March 26th, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that 416,686 and 18,589 death cases have been confirmed worldwide, and it has spread to 197 countries (WHO, 2020a). With this emerging battle against this deadly virus, the WHO has strategized to interrupt human-human contact, isolate patients at early stages, identify and reduce transmission from the animal source, address crucial mysteries about the virus and accelerate research, communicate information correctly to the public and minimize the social and economic impact. At this juncture, it is tremendously vital to understand the basic mechanism of the virus to develop specific drugs. Currently, it has been established that SARS-CoV-2 shares sequence homology with the SARS-CoV and a bat coronavirus (Gorbalenya, 2020). Despite its similarity to SARS-CoV, its transmission efficiency and diagnostic methods are rather different. The distinguishing factor is probably the nucleotide changes in the spike (S) protein and its receptor-binding domain (RBD) (Kannan et al., 2020; Coutard et al., 2020; Wan et al., 2020). Currently, the treatments include Lopinavir/Ritonavir and supportive care, as this is primarily dependent on the severity of the illness.
2. A brief overview of coronavirus
Coronaviruses, having a total of 39 species under the broad realm of Riboviria, belong to the family Coronaviridae, suborder Cornidovirineae and order Nidovirales (Gorbalenya et al., 2020). All the SARS-CoV fall under the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus and genus Beta-coronavirus. Most of the species under this head are enzootic and only a few of these species infect humans (Schoeman and Fielding, 2019). Currently, seven human CoVs (HCoVs) have been confirmed. Specifically, they are named as Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) and Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), which belong to the alpha-coronavirus genus; whereas Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43), Human coronavirus (HCoV-HKU1), SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), belong to the beta-coronavirus genus. HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-OC43 strains of coronavirus cause mild respiratory diseases in humans. The SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic virus that belongs to the Coronaviridae family that can infect human and several animal species (Lu et al., 2020). The SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the subgenus Sarbecovirus and mostly resembles a bat coronavirus, with which it shares 96.2% sequence homology (Chan et al., 2020a).
3. Structural assembly of SARS-CoV-2 virus
It has been reported that the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 have similar kind of receptors, especially the receptor binding domain (RBD) and the receptor binding motif (RBM) in the viral genome (Yin and Wunderink, 2018; Zhang et al., 2020; Tai et al., 2020). During the SARS infection, the RBM of the S protein gets directly attached to the Angiotension-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) in the human or the host cells (Phan, 2020). The ACE2 protein is expressed in various organs of the human body mainly in the lungs, kidney and intestine, the prime targets of the coronavirus (Zhao et al., 2020). The ACE1 and ACE2 have gained recognition as significant regulators of the physiology and pathology of the reproductive system (Pan et al., 2013). Although, due to the novel nature of the virus, no study has proven that it will reduce men's fertility or sexual potency but medics in Wuhan have suggested the likelihood that the disease can affect the production of sperm leading to low sperm count and the formation of male sex hormones (low libido). In addition, SARS-CoV-2 infects host cell through ACE2 receptors leading to COVID-19 related pneumonia, while also causing acute myocardial injury and chronic damage to the cardiovascular system (Zheng et al., 2020).
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