Academic investigates role of green tea compounds in Covid-19 drugs

University academic Dr Suresh Mohankumar has carried out research with colleagues in India during his time at JSS College of Pharmacy, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research in Ooty prior to taking up his current role at Swansea University Medical School. Findings suggest that one of the compounds in green tea could combat the coronavirus behind Covid-19. The researchers’ work has now been highlighted by online journal RSC Advances.

Dr Mohankumar said: “Nature’s oldest pharmacy has always been a treasure of potential novel drugs and we questioned if any of these compounds could assist us in battling the Covid-19 pandemic? We screened and sorted a library of natural compounds already know to be active against other coronaviruses using an artificial intelligence-aided computer programme. Our findings suggested that one of the compounds in green tea could combat the coronavirus behind Covid-19.”

Dr Mohankumar emphasised that the research was still in its early days and a long way from any kind of clinical application. He said that the compound that their model predicts to be most active is gallocatechin, which is present in green tea and could be readily available, accessible, and affordable. The next steps include further investigation into whether it can be proven clinically effective and safe for preventing or treating Covid-19. Dr Mohankumar highlights that this is a preliminary step, but a promising lead non-the-less.

Head of Pharmacy Professor Andrew Morris said: “This is fascinating research and demonstrates that natural products remain an important source of lead compounds in the fight against infectious diseases. I’m also really pleased to see this international research collaboration continuing now that Dr Mohankumar has joined the pharmacy team.”

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