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In vitro virucidal activity of Echinaforce®, an Echinacea purpurea preparation, against coronaviruses, including common cold coronavirus 229E and SARS-CoV-2.
Virol J. 2020 09 09; 17(1):136.VJ

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Coronaviruses (CoVs) were long thought to only cause mild respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans but outbreaks of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV-1, and the recently identified SARS-CoV-2 have cemented their zoonotic potential and their capacity to cause serious morbidity and mortality, with case fatality rates ranging from 4 to 35%. Currently, no specific prophylaxis or treatment is available for CoV infections. Therefore we investigated the virucidal and antiviral potential of Echinacea purpurea (Echinaforce®) against human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E, highly pathogenic MERS- and SARS-CoVs, as well as the newly identified SARS-CoV-2, in vitro.

METHODS

To evaluate the antiviral potential of the extract, we pre-treated virus particles and cells and evaluated remaining infectivity by limited dilution. Furthermore, we exposed cells to the extract after infection to further evaluate its potential as a prophylaxis and treatment against coronaviruses. We also determined the protective effect of Echinaforce® in re-constituted nasal epithelium.

RESULTS

In the current study, we found that HCoV-229E was irreversibly inactivated when exposed to Echinaforce® at 3.2 μg/ml IC50. Pre-treatment of cell lines, however, did not inhibit infection with HCoV-229E and post-infection treatment had only a marginal effect on virus propagation at 50 μg/ml. However, we did observe a protective effect in an organotypic respiratory cell culture system by exposing pre-treated respiratory epithelium to droplets of HCoV-229E, imitating a natural infection. The observed virucidal activity of Echinaforce® was not restricted to common cold coronaviruses, as both SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoVs were inactivated at comparable concentrations. Finally, the causative agent of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 was also inactivated upon treatment with 50μg/ml Echinaforce®.

CONCLUSIONS

These results show that Echinaforce® is virucidal against HCoV-229E, upon direct contact and in an organotypic cell culture model. Furthermore, MERS-CoV and both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 were inactivated at similar concentrations of the extract. Therefore we hypothesize that Echinacea purpurea preparations, such as Echinaforce®, could be effective as prophylactic treatment for all CoVs due to their structural similarities.

Authors+Show Affiliations

SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland.SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland. hulda-run.jonsdottir@babs.admin.ch.Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, Kantonsspital St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland.SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland.SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland.SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland.SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland.SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland.A.Vogel AG, Roggwil, Switzerland.A.Vogel AG, Roggwil, Switzerland.SPIEZ LABORATORY, Austrasse, 3700, Spiez, Switzerland. olivier.engler@babs.admin.ch.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32907596

Citation

Signer, Johanna, et al. "In Vitro Virucidal Activity of Echinaforce®, an Echinacea Purpurea Preparation, Against Coronaviruses, Including Common Cold Coronavirus 229E and SARS-CoV-2." Virology Journal, vol. 17, no. 1, 2020, p. 136.
Signer J, Jonsdottir HR, Albrich WC, et al. In vitro virucidal activity of Echinaforce®, an Echinacea purpurea preparation, against coronaviruses, including common cold coronavirus 229E and SARS-CoV-2. Virol J. 2020;17(1):136.
Signer, J., Jonsdottir, H. R., Albrich, W. C., Strasser, M., Züst, R., Ryter, S., Ackermann-Gäumann, R., Lenz, N., Siegrist, D., Suter, A., Schoop, R., & Engler, O. B. (2020). In vitro virucidal activity of Echinaforce®, an Echinacea purpurea preparation, against coronaviruses, including common cold coronavirus 229E and SARS-CoV-2. Virology Journal, 17(1), 136. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-020-01401-2
Signer J, et al. In Vitro Virucidal Activity of Echinaforce®, an Echinacea Purpurea Preparation, Against Coronaviruses, Including Common Cold Coronavirus 229E and SARS-CoV-2. Virol J. 2020 09 9;17(1):136. PubMed PMID: 32907596.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - In vitro virucidal activity of Echinaforce®, an Echinacea purpurea preparation, against coronaviruses, including common cold coronavirus 229E and SARS-CoV-2. AU - Signer,Johanna, AU - Jonsdottir,Hulda R, AU - Albrich,Werner C, AU - Strasser,Marc, AU - Züst,Roland, AU - Ryter,Sarah, AU - Ackermann-Gäumann,Rahel, AU - Lenz,Nicole, AU - Siegrist,Denise, AU - Suter,Andreas, AU - Schoop,Roland, AU - Engler,Olivier B, Y1 - 2020/09/09/ PY - 2020/02/27/received PY - 2020/08/16/accepted PY - 2020/9/10/entrez PY - 2020/9/11/pubmed PY - 2020/9/25/medline KW - Antivirals KW - Common cold KW - Coronavirus KW - Echinacea KW - HCoV-229E KW - MERS-CoV KW - Prevention KW - SARS-CoV-1 KW - SARS-CoV-2 SP - 136 EP - 136 JF - Virology journal JO - Virol J VL - 17 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: Coronaviruses (CoVs) were long thought to only cause mild respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans but outbreaks of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-CoV-1, and the recently identified SARS-CoV-2 have cemented their zoonotic potential and their capacity to cause serious morbidity and mortality, with case fatality rates ranging from 4 to 35%. Currently, no specific prophylaxis or treatment is available for CoV infections. Therefore we investigated the virucidal and antiviral potential of Echinacea purpurea (Echinaforce®) against human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E, highly pathogenic MERS- and SARS-CoVs, as well as the newly identified SARS-CoV-2, in vitro. METHODS: To evaluate the antiviral potential of the extract, we pre-treated virus particles and cells and evaluated remaining infectivity by limited dilution. Furthermore, we exposed cells to the extract after infection to further evaluate its potential as a prophylaxis and treatment against coronaviruses. We also determined the protective effect of Echinaforce® in re-constituted nasal epithelium. RESULTS: In the current study, we found that HCoV-229E was irreversibly inactivated when exposed to Echinaforce® at 3.2 μg/ml IC50. Pre-treatment of cell lines, however, did not inhibit infection with HCoV-229E and post-infection treatment had only a marginal effect on virus propagation at 50 μg/ml. However, we did observe a protective effect in an organotypic respiratory cell culture system by exposing pre-treated respiratory epithelium to droplets of HCoV-229E, imitating a natural infection. The observed virucidal activity of Echinaforce® was not restricted to common cold coronaviruses, as both SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoVs were inactivated at comparable concentrations. Finally, the causative agent of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 was also inactivated upon treatment with 50μg/ml Echinaforce®. CONCLUSIONS: These results show that Echinaforce® is virucidal against HCoV-229E, upon direct contact and in an organotypic cell culture model. Furthermore, MERS-CoV and both SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 were inactivated at similar concentrations of the extract. Therefore we hypothesize that Echinacea purpurea preparations, such as Echinaforce®, could be effective as prophylactic treatment for all CoVs due to their structural similarities. SN - 1743-422X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32907596/In_vitro_virucidal_activity_of_Echinaforce®_an_Echinacea_purpurea_preparation_against_coronaviruses_including_common_cold_coronavirus_229E_and_SARS_CoV_2_ L2 - https://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12985-020-01401-2 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -