MUST scientists identify ingredients that could be used to fight Covid-19

Chair Professor Liu Liang, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Rector of the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST), in collaboration with Xiao-Jun Yao, Professor of the State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine (MUST), has discovered several active ingredients from traditional Chinese medicine which could significantly inhibit critical targets of the new coronavirus, Covid-19.
The scientists screened molecules frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine and identified ingredients that could prevent virus replication, which might make them promising candidates for further investigation into the drugs for treating the novel coronavirus, said the University.
Professor Liu’s group also proved for the first time that two existing drugs, including Zhengqing Fengtongning, could observably reduce lung fibrosis. The mechanism of action was closely related to the inhibition of inflammatory cytokines, indicating that these existing drugs could have potential applications in the treatment of severe pneumonia caused by infection with the novel coronavirus and preventing sequelae such as pulmonary fibrosis which need to be further investigated.
Zhengqing Fengtongning is produced by Hunan Zhengqing Pharmaceutical Group. It has been included in the “Double List” of National Essential Medicines and Medical Insurance Medicines of China, and is widely used for treating rheumatoid arthritis in various hospitals of China.
These results from Professor Liu’s research team indicate that efforts to develop antiviral and host protection drugs to treat infection with the novel coronavirus using Chinese herbal medicine hold promise.
The project “Research on Zhengqing Fengtongning and other marketed drugs against Novel Coronavirus pneumonia” carried out by Professor Liu’s research team was approved by the Guangdong Province Special Science and Technology Project of Emergency Response for Prevention and Control of New Coronavirus Infection, which is also the first collaborative project between Guangdong and Macau in this scientific space. JZ

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