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In silico virtual screening-based study of nutraceuticals predicts the therapeutic potentials of folic acid and its derivatives against COVID-19

Kumar et al., VirusDisease, doi:10.1007/s13337-020-00643-6 (date from preprint)
May 2020  
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In Silico analysis finding that magnesium ascorbate, a form of Vitamin C, was found to be the top compound among 106 nutraceuticals for binding to Mpro of SARS-CoV-2.
9 preclinical studies support the efficacy of vitamin C for COVID-19:
Vitamin C plays a key role in the immune system, supporting the production and function of leukocytes, or white blood cells, which defend against infection and disease, including the production of lymphocytes, which make antibodies, and enhancing phagocytosis, the process by which immune system cells ingest and destroy viruses and infected cells. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Preclinical research shows that vitamin C inhibits SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro Malla, Đukić, reduces ACE2 levels in a dose-dependent manner, and inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection Zuo. Intracellular levels of vitamin C decline during COVID-19 hospitalization Boerenkamp, suggesting ongoing utilization and depletion of vitamin C. Threonic acid, a metabolite of vitamin C, is lower in mild and severe cases Albóniga, consistent with increased need for and metabolization of vitamin C with moderate infection, but more limited ability to produce threonic acid in severe infection due to depletion or existing lower levels of vitamin C. Symptomatic COVID-19 is associated with a lower frequency of natural killer (NK) cells Graydon, and vitamin C has been shown to improve NK cell numbers and functioning Vojdani.
This study includes vitamin B9 and vitamin C.
Kumar et al., 27 May 2020, peer-reviewed, 3 authors.
In Silico studies are an important part of preclinical research, however results may be very different in vivo.
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In silico virtual screening-based study of nutraceuticals predicts the therapeutic potentials of folic acid and its derivatives against COVID-19
Vipul Kumar, Sudhakar Kancharla, Manoj Kumar
The recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the Wuhan province of China has taken millions of lives worldwide. In this pandemic situation and absence of known drugs and vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), there is an urgent need for the repurposing of the existing drugs against it. So, here we have examined a safe and cheap alternative against this virus by screening hundreds of nutraceuticals compounds against known therapeutic targets of SARS-COV-2 by molecular docking. The virtual screening results were then analyzed for binding energy and interactive residues and compared with some already known hits in the best binding pose. All these analyses of this study strongly predicted the potential of Folic acid and its derivates like Tetrahydrofolic acid and 5-methyl tetrahydrofolic acid against SARS-COV-2. The strong and stable binding affinity of this water-soluble vitamin and its derivatives against the SARS-COV-2, indicating that they could be valuable drugs against the management of this COVID-19 pandemic. This study could serve as the starting point for further investigation of these molecules through in vitro and in vivo assays.
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