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1.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321524

ABSTRACT

Background: Coronaviruses (CoVs) were long thought to only cause mild respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans but outbreaks of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV, and the recently identified SARS-CoV-2 have cemented their zoonotic potential and their capacity to cause serious morbidity and mortality, with case fatality rates ranging from 4 to 35%. Currently, no specific prophylaxis or treatment is available for CoV infections.Therefore we investigated the virucidal and antiviral potential of Echinacea purpurea (Echinaforce ® ) against human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E, highly pathogenic MERS- and SARS-CoVs, as well as the newly identified SARS-CoV-2, in vitro. Methods: : To evaluate the antiviral potential of the extract we pre-treated virus particles and cells and evaluated remaining infectivity by limited dilution. Furthermore, we exposed cells to the extract after infection to further evaluate its potential as a prophylaxis and treatment against coronaviruses. We also determined the protective effect of Echinaforce ® in re-constituted nasal epithelium. Results: : In the current study, we found that HCoV-229E was irreversibly inactivated when exposed to Echinaforce ® at 3.2mg/ml IC 50 . Pre-treatment of cell lines, however, did not inhibit infection with HCoV-229E and post-infection treatment had only a marginal effect on virus propagation at 50 mg/ml. However, we did observe a protective effect in an organotypic respiratory cell culture system by exposing pre-treated respiratory epithelium to droplets of HCoV-229E, imitating a natural infection. The observed virucidal activity of Echinaforce ® was not restricted to common cold coronaviruses, as both SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoVs were inactivated at comparable concentrations. Finally, the causative agent of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 was also inactivated upon treatment with 50ug/ml Echinaforce ® . Conclusions: : These results show that Echinaforce ® is virucidal against HCoV-229E, upon direct contact and in an organotypic cell culture model. Furthermore, MERS-CoV and both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 were inactivated at similar concentrations of the extract. Therefore we hypothesize that Echinacea purpurea preparations, such as Echinaforce ® , could be effective as prophylactic treatment for all CoVs due to their structural similarities.

2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-309273

ABSTRACT

Background: Herbal remedies of Echinacea purpurea tinctures are widely used today to reduce common cold respiratory tract infections. Methods: A system biology approach involving genomewide transcriptome, epigenome and kinome activity profiles was applied to characterize the immunomodulatory effects of a standardized Echinacea purpurea extract Echinaforce® in THP1 monocytes. Results: Gene expression and DNA methylation analysis revealed activation of innate immunity related antiviral signaling networks, involving IFN, chemotaxis and immunometabolic pathways. Furthermore, phosphopeptide based kinome activity profiling and pharmacological inhibitor experiments with filgotinib confirm a key role for Janus Kinase (JAK)-1 dependent gene expression changes in innate immune signaling. Finally, Echinaforce® treatment induces DNA hypermethylation at intergenic CpG, long/short interspersed nuclear DNA repeat elements (LINE, SINE) or long termininal DNA repeats (LTR). This changes transcription of flanking endogenous retroviral sequences (HERVs), involved in an evolutionary conserved (epi)genomic protective response against viral infections. Conclusions: Altogether, our results suggest that Echinaforce® phytochemicals strengthen antiviral innate immunity by JAK1 responsive gene expression and epigenetic regulation of HERVs in monocytes, which supports its prophylactic use against common cold corona viruses (CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV, and new occurring strains such as SARS-CoV-2.

3.
Virol J ; 17(1): 136, 2020 09 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435256

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronaviruses (CoVs) were long thought to only cause mild respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans but outbreaks of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV-1, and the recently identified SARS-CoV-2 have cemented their zoonotic potential and their capacity to cause serious morbidity and mortality, with case fatality rates ranging from 4 to 35%. Currently, no specific prophylaxis or treatment is available for CoV infections. Therefore we investigated the virucidal and antiviral potential of Echinacea purpurea (Echinaforce®) against human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E, highly pathogenic MERS- and SARS-CoVs, as well as the newly identified SARS-CoV-2, in vitro. METHODS: To evaluate the antiviral potential of the extract, we pre-treated virus particles and cells and evaluated remaining infectivity by limited dilution. Furthermore, we exposed cells to the extract after infection to further evaluate its potential as a prophylaxis and treatment against coronaviruses. We also determined the protective effect of Echinaforce® in re-constituted nasal epithelium. RESULTS: In the current study, we found that HCoV-229E was irreversibly inactivated when exposed to Echinaforce® at 3.2 µg/ml IC50. Pre-treatment of cell lines, however, did not inhibit infection with HCoV-229E and post-infection treatment had only a marginal effect on virus propagation at 50 µg/ml. However, we did observe a protective effect in an organotypic respiratory cell culture system by exposing pre-treated respiratory epithelium to droplets of HCoV-229E, imitating a natural infection. The observed virucidal activity of Echinaforce® was not restricted to common cold coronaviruses, as both SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoVs were inactivated at comparable concentrations. Finally, the causative agent of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 was also inactivated upon treatment with 50µg/ml Echinaforce®. CONCLUSIONS: These results show that Echinaforce® is virucidal against HCoV-229E, upon direct contact and in an organotypic cell culture model. Furthermore, MERS-CoV and both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 were inactivated at similar concentrations of the extract. Therefore we hypothesize that Echinacea purpurea preparations, such as Echinaforce®, could be effective as prophylactic treatment for all CoVs due to their structural similarities.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus 229E, Human/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus/drug effects , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , Plant Extracts/therapeutic use , Animals , COVID-19 , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Common Cold/drug therapy , Common Cold/virology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA Viruses/drug effects , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/drug therapy , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology , Vero Cells
4.
BMC Complement Med Ther ; 21(1): 141, 2021 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388756

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Herbal remedies of Echinacea purpurea tinctures are widely used today to reduce common cold respiratory tract infections. METHODS: Transcriptome, epigenome and kinome profiling allowed a systems biology level characterisation of genomewide immunomodulatory effects of a standardized Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench extract in THP1 monocytes. RESULTS: Gene expression and DNA methylation analysis revealed that Echinaforce® treatment triggers antiviral innate immunity pathways, involving tonic IFN signaling, activation of pattern recognition receptors, chemotaxis and immunometabolism. Furthermore, phosphopeptide based kinome activity profiling and pharmacological inhibitor experiments with filgotinib confirm a key role for Janus Kinase (JAK)-1 dependent gene expression changes in innate immune signaling. Finally, Echinaforce® treatment induces DNA hypermethylation at intergenic CpG, long/short interspersed nuclear DNA repeat elements (LINE, SINE) or long termininal DNA repeats (LTR). This changes transcription of flanking endogenous retroviral sequences (HERVs), involved in an evolutionary conserved (epi) genomic protective response against viral infections. CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, our results suggest that Echinaforce® phytochemicals strengthen antiviral innate immunity through tonic IFN regulation of pattern recognition and chemokine gene expression and DNA repeat hypermethylated silencing of HERVs in monocytes. These results suggest that immunomodulation by Echinaforce® treatment holds promise to reduce symptoms and duration of infection episodes of common cold corona viruses (CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV, and new occurring strains such as SARS-CoV-2, with strongly impaired interferon (IFN) response and weak innate antiviral defense.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Echinacea , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Monocytes/drug effects , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Gene Expression , Humans , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Interferons/drug effects , Phytotherapy , Plant Extracts/therapeutic use
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