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Plant non-steroidal anti-inflammatory leaves immune system intact

Date: 1.1.2024 

Review and meta-analysis found that administering corticosteroids to patients with mild COVID-19 – those who did not require oxygen – was more detrimental than beneficial.

Kredit: J.M.Garg, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.Steroids given early in the disease appeared to weaken a person’s innate immunity, which develops when the body encounters a pathogen for the first time.

Nonetheless, anti-inflammatory drugs remain a valuable treatment in moderate to severe cases of COVID-19 infection. So, new research led by the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (UPV) in Spain set about finding an anti-inflammatory compound that could control the cytokine storm while retaining the ability of the innate immune system to respond to naive viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections.

To do that, the researchers turned to nature. They selected andrographolide, the active ingredient of the Andrographis paniculata plant native to India, Sri Lanka and other Southeast Asian regions, where it is widely used as a traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that andrographolide can reduce pro-inflammatory mediators in asthmatics and that, unlike corticosteroids, does not adversely affect bone or muscle.

In mouse models with lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced lung injury, AG5 minimized the inflammatory response, reducing levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

AG5 was not seen to produce toxic effects in any animals (mouse, rat, rabbit) at the maximum tolerated dose, and there was no observable change in hematological or biochemical parameters. Post-mortem pathological evaluation of tissue samples from all animals did not show any damage.

Image source: J.M.Garg, Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 4.0.





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