The institute has been working on a project to test the anti-viral properties of medicinal plants found along the Western Ghats. During the project, the institute came across a plant’s extract which contained a compound that was effective against dengue and chikungunya.
Coronavirus cure: Kerala institute eyes deriving plant-based cure for COVID-19! While scientists and researchers across the world are looking for vaccines or drugs to tackle the coronavirus-induced COVID-19, a research institute in Kerala has started to look into the possibility of deriving a plant-based cure for the disease which has wrecked havoc across the globe, according to a report in IE. The Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) in Thiruvananthapuram district’s Palode has received the approval of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the nodal agency dealing with COVID-19 in India, to test whether extraction from plants could be effective in the treatment of the virus, the IE report quoted JNTBGRI Director Dr R Prakashkumar as saying.
The report also cited the director as saying that the tests in this regard would take place at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. The report further said that the institute has been working on a project to test the anti-viral properties of medicinal plants found along the Western Ghats. During the project, the institute came across a plant’s extract which contained a compound that was effective against dengue and chikungunya, which are both viral infections, the report added.
JNTBGRI’s findings on treatment of chikungunya and dengue are at the stage of obtaining a patent and are being supported by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology, the report added.
The report quoted Dr Prakashkumar as saying that they are not going for preliminary research work. They already have a lead molecule which was found effective against dengue and chikungunya and now, the team will test if the molecule is also effective against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus causing COVID-19. He said that if the results are positive, it would be a breakthrough in the treatment of the disease.
The name of the plant from which the compound is extracted cannot be disclosed, the Director told IE, but it is commonly found in Kerala. He further said that the researchers would not give the plant extraction itself to NIV, Pune, but would give the compound to them for the testing. For the testing to proceed, the JNTBGRI will have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the NIV, and the former has already sent the draft for it to the latter, he was quoted as saying.