Sean R Alcorn
School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, QUM Network, Griffith University, Gold Coast, AUSTRALIA.
Published: January 2021
Background: The unprecedented modern pandemic that is COVID-19 has awakened a global fear of viral disease and an activation of viral targeted drug discovery not seen before in modern times. Whilst the vaccines about to enter the market, are an important component of the strategy to combat COVID-19, vaccination should be considered a part of a wider strategy to address this and future zoonotic viral outbreaks. Plant-based approaches may provide valuable avenues for viral disease management. Methods: This commentary combines an appraisal of the existing literature with the authors thoughts on key challenges that pharmacognosy may be able to assist with, in the management of zoonotic viral disease. Results: There are many avenues for plant-based antiviral research in the context of the present COVID-19 pandemic. This narrative review discusses the use of plant-based approaches; as viral drug leads, as agents for managing the cytokine storm associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome, as agents for elimination of viral reservoirs and as agents in hand sanitisation. Conclusion: Whilst the arrival of vaccines is an important step in the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmacognosy still has a role to play in the management of this and future viral pandemics. The support of researchers in this domain is needed to combat viral pandemics via arming clinicians with a broader range of options for prevention and treatment of viral illness on a global scale.