Combination of natural antivirals and potent immune invigorators: A natural remedy to combat COVID-19

Muhammad Ajmal Shah, Azhar Rasul, Rimsha Yousaf, Muhammad Haris, Hafiza Ishmal Faheem, Ayesha Hamid, Haroon Khan, Abdul Haleem Khan, Michael Aschner, Gaber El Saber Batiha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The flare-up in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and spread expeditiously worldwide has become a health challenge globally. The rapid transmission, absence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs, and inexistence of vaccine are further exacerbating the situation. Several drugs, including chloroquine, remdesivir, and favipiravir, are presently undergoing clinical investigation to further scrutinize their effectiveness and validity in the management of COVID-19. Natural products (NPs) in general, and plants constituents specifically, are unique sources for various effective and novel drugs. Immunostimulants, including vitamins, iron, zinc, chrysin, caffeic acid, and gallic acid, act as potent weapons against COVID-19 by reinvigorating the defensive mechanisms of the immune system. Immunity boosters prevent COVID-19 by stimulating the proliferation of T-cells, B-cells, and neutrophils, neutralizing the free radicals, inhibiting the immunosuppressive agents, and promoting cytokine production. Presently, antiviral therapy includes several lead compounds, such as baicalin, glycyrrhizin, theaflavin, and herbacetin, all of which seem to act against SARS-CoV-2 via particular targets, such as blocking virus entry, attachment to host cell receptor, inhibiting viral replication, and assembly and release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6530-6551
Number of pages22
JournalPhytotherapy Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antivirals
  • immunostimulants
  • phytochemicals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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