Edible Mushrooms Show Potential as COVID-19 Treatment: Computer and Lab Analysis

Jim Crocker
14th June, 2024

Edible Mushrooms Show Potential as COVID-19 Treatment: Computer and Lab Analysis

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases explored the antiviral potential of the fungus Cordyceps militaris against SARS-CoV-2
  • Computational analysis showed that Cordycepin, a compound in C. militaris, strongly binds to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, suggesting it could block the virus from entering human cells
  • In-vitro tests revealed that C. militaris extracts reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral copy numbers by over 50%, indicating significant antiviral activity
The emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, has posed a significant global health threat. Despite the development of vaccines, there remains a need for effective antiviral therapies, particularly as the disease transitions into an endemic phase. Traditional herbal medicines are being investigated for their potential antiviral properties, and a recent study conducted by the ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases has focused on the fungus Cordyceps militaris for its potential against SARS-CoV-2[1]. Cordyceps militaris has been traditionally used in Eastern medicine for its immunostimulant and fatigue-alleviating properties[2]. This study aimed to explore the antiviral potential of C. militaris against SARS-CoV-2 through pharmacoinformatic analysis and in-vitro evaluation. The researchers conducted a comprehensive computational investigation, including molecular docking, molecular dynamic simulation, and network pharmacology analysis, to identify the chemical ingredients in C. militaris that might interact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Molecular docking analysis revealed that Cordycepin, a compound found in C. militaris, had the highest affinity for the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, with an affinity score of -9.71 kcal/mol. This suggests a strong potential for Cordycepin to inhibit the virus's ability to bind to human cells. Following the computational analysis, the study proceeded with in-vitro assays to evaluate the actual antiviral activity of C. militaris extracts. The aqueous extract of C. militaris was found to reduce SARS-CoV-2 viral copy numbers by 50.24% at a concentration of 100 μg/mL. This significant reduction indicates that the fungus has a promising anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. The findings of this study align with previous research that has highlighted the antiviral properties of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals from various plants have been shown to inhibit viruses through multiple mechanisms, including direct inhibition at the viral entry point and during replication stages, as well as through immunomodulation[3]. The results of this study add to the growing body of evidence that certain natural compounds, such as those found in C. militaris, could be valuable in the fight against COVID-19. Additionally, the study's findings are consistent with previous research on the bioactive substances in Cordyceps militaris. Earlier studies have demonstrated that C. militaris contains significant amounts of cordycepin and other health-promoting compounds, which are potentially bioavailable for humans[2]. This supports the idea that C. militaris can serve as a beneficial food supplement and pharmaceutical agent. Moreover, traditional uses of Cordyceps species, including Cordyceps sinensis, have been documented for a range of ailments[4]. The pharmacological and biological studies reviewed in previous literature have suggested that the curative effects of Cordyceps are not merely based on local folklore but have scientific validity. This further strengthens the case for exploring Cordyceps militaris as a potential therapeutic agent against SARS-CoV-2. In conclusion, the study conducted by the ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases provides compelling evidence that Cordyceps militaris has significant anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. The combination of computational and in-vitro analyses demonstrates that Cordycepin, a key compound in C. militaris, could inhibit the virus, making it a promising candidate for traditional medicine in managing COVID-19 during its endemic phase. This research adds to the existing knowledge of the antiviral properties of phytochemicals and supports the continued exploration of natural compounds in the fight against viral diseases.



Main Study

1) Quest for Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiviral therapeutics: in-silico and in-vitro analysis of edible mushroom- Cordyceps militaris.

Published 12th June, 2024


Related Studies

2) Cordyceps militaris-Fruiting Bodies, Mycelium, and Supplements: Valuable Component of Daily Diet.


3) Medicinal Plants, Phytochemicals, and Herbs to Combat Viral Pathogens Including SARS-CoV-2.


4) Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim.


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