Glycyrrhetinic acid and its derivatives as potential alternative medicine to relieve symptoms in nonhospitalized COVID-19 patients

Hong Ding, Wenjun Deng, Lingling Ding, Xiaoqun Ye, Shanye Yin, Weishan Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


SARS-CoV-2 is highly infectious, and infection by this virus results in COVID-19, manifesting predominantly symptoms in the lower respiratory system. Detection of viral genomic materials by RT-PCR is the gold standard for diagnosis. Suspected COVID-19 patients who had a documented history of exposure and exhibited symptoms, but did not have positive PCR test results, were generally self-quarantined with prescriptions aiming to help attenuate their symptoms. These prescriptions are however neither specific nor highly effective for COVID-19 treatment. Given the rapidly growing pandemic and the overwhelmed medical system, the number of self-quarantined patients is increasing. There is an urgent need of alternative medicine to help patients relieve symptoms during self-quarantine, and to potentially help increase their chances of survival and recovery from the infection. We report here a case of severe COVID-19 that never had a positive PCR test result during disease progression but was confirmed with antibody test post recovery. This patient was self-quarantined and received diammonium glycyrrhizinate (DG), a steroid-like molecule, in combination with vitamin C as alternative medicine. This patient went through severe COVID-19 but eventually recovered upon the implementation of this treatment regimen, suggesting potential therapeutic effects of DG as alternative medicine to help relieve COVID-19 symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2200-2204
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • PCR test negative
  • alternative medicine
  • antibody test positive
  • prolonged symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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