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Global Advances in Health and Medicine ; 11:13, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1916561


Methods: Open-label randomized clinical trial to investigate preventive and therapeutic effects of EF extract. Healthy volunteers (18 - 75 years) were to take either 2400mg/d over 5 months or received no treatment. Nasal and oropharyngeal swabs as well as blood samples were collected routinely for detection of a broad spectrum of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Additional swabs were taken during acute respiratory episodes, when EF dosing was increased to 4000mg/d for up to 10 days. Results: N=120 adults were randomized and treated in Sofia, Bulgaria between November 2020 and May 2021. Over 5months, 21 and 29 samples tested positive for any virus in the EF and control group (difference n.s.), of which 5 and 14 samples were SARS-CoV-2 positive (RR=0.37, Chi-square test, p=0.03). Overall, 10 symptomatic episodes occurred with EF, resp. 14 in the control group (difference n.s.) of which 5 and 8 were COVID-19 (RR=0.70, p>0.05). Treatment with EF during acute episodes reduced the overall virus load by at least 2.12 log10 or approx. 99% (p<0.05, t-test), as well as the time to virus clearance by 8.0 days for all viruses (p=0.02,Wilcoxon test) resp. by 4.8 days for SARS-CoV-2 (p>0.05) in comparison between groups. EF significantly reduced fever days (1 vs. 11 days, p=0.003, chi square test). Background: Although quite a few plants claim preventive and/ or therapeutic effects against SARS-CoV-2, only few [RS1] have been investigated in clinical trials. A 65% ethanolic extract from fresh Echinacea purpurea (95% aerial parts and 5% root, Echinaforce® [EF]) licensed as drug in Switzerland, has documented anti-viral effects in former clinical trials, i.a. against various coronavirus strains. Conclusion: EF extract reduced the risk of viral RTIs, including those caused by SARS-CoV-2 and substantially decreased virus loads in infected subjects. It might offer a supportive option to existing preventive and therapeutic measures.