Research carried out by an international team led by Italian scientists from the Tor Vergata University of Rome and Turin found that a compound that occurs naturally in plants such as cabbage and broccoli, specifically indole-3-carbinol (I3C) , is able to block the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in human cells and this allows the virus not to spread to the rest of the body. The various tests carried out only in the laboratory, open a new path to be able to design and test new drugs based on this specific compound that is able to block viral replication.
From the Cruciferous plants (Brassicaceae) therefore a great help and support in order to prevent the virus from replicating and that the spread in the organism does not occur. A biological mechanism called “cell egression” is activated and it is possible to block the infection and eliminate the virus. The tests on covid19 have been carried out at the moment and are in vitro, but this solution has already been used in drugs to treat recurrent respiratory papillomatosis , so it is already tested and this bodes well that the clinical phase can be faster.
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), resulting from the aggregation of glucosidic compounds present in almost all Cruciferous plants , such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and the like. To discover its properties against coronavirus was an international research team led by scientists from the University of Tor Vergata, the University of Turin and the University of Nevada (United States), who collaborating with a team from Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center of Harvard University School of Medicine; of the Department of Epidemiology and Preclinical Research of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani (INMI) of Rome; the Laboratory of Medical Genetics of the IRCCS Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital; Boston University and numerous other institutes have succeeded in making this great discovery.
The team of prof. Giuseppe Novelli , research coordinator, of the Department of Biomedicine and Prevention of the Roman university and Pier Paolo Pandolfi of the Department of Molecular Biotechnologies and Health Sciences of the University of Turin, managed to reach certain conclusions after realizing which enzymes the virus used to be able to exit the cells and replicate. So with this discovery, there are high hopes of producing drugs that can stop the disease in the bud and avoid serious cases.
“ A vaccine is just a prophylactic measure. We must test the drug in clinical trials with Covid-19 patients to rigorously assess whether it can prevent the manifestation of severe and potentially fatal symptoms. Having options for treatment, particularly for patients who cannot be vaccinated, is of paramount importance to save more and more lives and contribute to a better state and management of public health , ”said Professor Novelli. “ We have to think long term. Vaccines, while very effective, may no longer be so in the future, because the virus mutates, and therefore it is necessary to have more weapons to fight it. The discovery on I3C is important, and now we have to start clinical trials to demonstrate its potential effectiveness “, said Professor Pandolfi, adding that it will also be important to understand if the drug will be effective against the so-called” Long COVID “ (the after-effects after having passed the acute phase, which can last for months). The results of the research ” Inhibition of HECT E3 ligases as potential therapy for COVID-19 ” have been published in the specialized scientific journal Cell Death & Disease of the Nature circuit .