The initial findings suggested that one of the compounds in green tea could combat the coronavirus behind COVID-19, said lead author Suresh Mohankumar, who researched during his time at JSS College of Pharmacy in Ooty before taking up his current role at Swansea University Medical School.
“Nature’s oldest pharmacy has always been a treasure of potential novel drugs and we questioned if any of these compounds could assist us in battling the COVID-19 pandemic?” said Mohankumar.
“We screened and sorted a library of natural compounds already know to be active against other coronaviruses using an artificial intelligence-aided computer programme,” he added.
Mohankumar emphasised that the research was still in its early days and a long way from any kind of clinical application, in the study published in the journal RSC Advances.
“The compound that our model predicts to be most active is gallocatechin, which is present in green tea and could be readily available, accessible, and affordable,” the researcher said.
There now needs to be further investigation to show if it can be proven clinically effective and safe for preventing or treating COVID-19.
“This is fascinating research and demonstrates that natural products remain an important source of lead compounds in the fight against infectious diseases,” said Andrew Morris, Professor, Swansea University.
“I am also really pleased to see this international research collaboration continuing now that Mohankumar has joined the Pharmacy team,” Morris added.