In a groundbreaking discovery, a recent study conducted in Taiwan has revealed the potential of a phytochemical compound derived from the medicinal fungus Antrodia Cinnamomea (AC) in the fight against COVID-19. The compound, known as Dehydrosulphurenic Acid (DA), has shown promise in preventing and treating the disease.
The study focused on the role of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a crucial host receptor for the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Individuals with underlying health conditions tend to have elevated levels of ACE2 expression in their lung tissues, which worsens the severity of the disease. The research aimed to reduce ACE2 expression to decrease susceptibility to the virus while avoiding unintended adverse effects.
With concerns about vaccine side effects, declining efficacy, and vaccine hesitancy, alternative pharmacological approaches have become necessary. Repurposing FDA-approved drugs, exploring synthetic compounds, and investigating natural products like AC have shown promise in countering SARS-CoV-2.
Antrodia Cinnamomea, a medicinal mushroom found exclusively in Taiwan, has a rich history in ethnomedicine and offers various health benefits. The AC extract contains bioactive components, including antcins, which have shown promise in reducing ACE2 expression. The compound Dehydrosulphurenic Acid (DA), found in Antrodia Cinnamomea, has unique properties that aid in preventing and treating COVID-19.
The comprehensive study conducted by a collaborative team of researchers revealed significant findings. AC reduced ACE2 expression in human lung cells, inhibited ACE2 protease activity, and reduced the infection rate of SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus in vitro. In hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2, AC administration reduced body weight loss, improved lung injury, and inhibited IL-1β expression. These findings suggest that AC could serve as a nutraceutical to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mitigate lung inflammation associated with COVID-19.
This study emphasizes the importance of exploring natural products like Antrodia Cinnamomea as potential solutions for COVID-19. AC’s anti-inflammatory properties and ability to modulate cytokine responses make it a valuable candidate for mitigating the severity of the disease. By reducing ACE2 expression and interfering with the interaction between the spike protein and ACE2-expressing lung cells, AC has the potential to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infections without severe adverse effects.
While further research is needed to fully understand AC’s capabilities and efficacy against different SARS-CoV-2 variants, these findings offer optimism in the ongoing fight against the global pandemic. Utilizing Antrodia Cinnamomea as a functional food or nutritional supplement could enhance the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and reduce the risk of severe disease among patients. The publication of this study in a peer-reviewed journal further validates the significance of these findings.