BREAKING! Coronavirus Research: Could Echinacea Act As A Prophylaxis Against The SARS-Cov-2 Coronavirus? More Research Warranted
A recent study published on an open platform but has yet to be peer reviewed caught our eyes as it was strangely conducted by the prestigious Spiez Laboratory In Switzerland by a team of leading virologists and microbiologists, but what intrigued me was that why would a prestigious research centre like the Spiez laboratory that had enormous funds and had some of the leading specialist post a ‘half-baked’ research on an open platform?
Their research claimed that Echinacea purpurea
preparations could serve as effective prophylactic treatment for all CoVs or coronaviruses including newly occurring strains, such as the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. (https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-15282/v1
Their study only focused on vitro studies and focused on seven CoVs that have been found to cause disease in humans. Four of those, HCoV–229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-HKU1, are non-zoonotic and cause worldwide outbreaks predominantly in the winter period.
These HCoVs replicate in the nasopharynx and generally cause mild, self-limited upper respiratory tract infections with short incubation periods, although lower tract respiratory infections and pneumonia have occasionally been described. The more virulent coronaviruses, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV were also included in the study but not the actual new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Though their study claims that vitro studies showed inhibitory properties for most for the coronaviruses, the study was lacking details in terms of the actually isolated active ingredients in the Echinacea and also what was the actual cellular pathways involved and also that the actual SARS-CoV-2 virus was not used. (We at Thailand Medical News considered it premature to compare the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to the rest of the coronaviruses, as already many emerging studies are showing a variety of anomalies.)
There has been numerous studies published in the past , some claiming that Echinacea helped in the prevention or shortening of the duration of common colds and respiratory diseases while others claiming that it is no better than placebo.
There are some interesting past studies that have demonstrated antiviral properties against certain common non-zoonotic coronaviruses by some of the isolated phytochemicals from Echinacea but it is still too premature to assume anything till more detailed studies are done.
Echinacea as a Prophylaxis
However we are not totally discounting that Echinacea can be used as prophylaxis against the new coronavirus but just that more detailed and concrete studies need to be done before any such claims are made. (In fact our editorial teams quickly rushed out to stock up on as much as we could for ourselves and our families through all our global offices, as we are typically ‘guinea pigs’ for literally every drug that has been mentioned! It was also during this stocking up that we discovered something else that made us more curious as further ‘digging’ revealed that the same laboratory has purchased a total of 265 tons of the Echichinacea from Canada and Eastern America suppliers in
the last few weeks causing a massive shortage for supplement manufacturers, not to mention that they were also buying up processed and packed Echinacea preparations. Almost all the prestigious brands like Blackmore, Now, Life Extension, Best Nutrition, Green Life all reported that they have run out of stocks except those already in retail outlets and are unable to replenish stocks due to shortage of raw materials. We only did our checks based on foreign brands not on any Asian brands which we consider inferior as many do not contain the correct bio active ingredients despite labeling them as such, in particular brands made in Myanmar, Indonesia and certain made in Thailand brands.)
(Note: The research says that Echinaceas may act as a prophylaxis not for treating the coronavirus.Also one should not try to selftreat, always consult a licensed doctor and also before attempting to take any supplements, always consult a healthcare professional. Note that Echinacea consumption can also cause certain adverse medical and health issues with certain individuals.Do your own necessary du diligence before consuming ant supplements)
While there are reports that echinacea might be a good prophylaxis against the Covid-19, those with existing autoimmune diseases should not take it and also those who have already contracted Covid-19 should not be taking echinacea as it could contribute an overworking immune system and cytokine storms. It might only be good as a prophylaxis when you have yet to get the Covid-19.
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