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Tea might inhibit proliferation of coronavirus: Taiwan study

A chemical compound prevalent in tea might be able to inhibit the proliferation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the human body, according to the latest findings of a Taiwanese hospital.

The theaflavin extracted from locally grown Taiwanese tea may be an inhibitor for the coronavirus, which relies on a type of protease to replicate, according to Wu Ching-yuan (吳清源), head of the Chinese medicine division of the Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital’s Chiayi branch. Among the various types of tea in Taiwan, fermented tea contains even more theaflavin, he said.

The findings were published by the Journal of Medical Virology on March 22. Wu stressed that the report was based on molecule docking studies.

It remains to be seen how much theaflavin is required to produce the inhibitive effects, Wu said. Nevertheless, he said the study opened the door to further medical research on the topic.

The team discovered that theaflavin could be docked in a certain protease that catalyzes the replication of the virus’ RNA, thus lowering proteolytic activation. Remdesivir, a medication currently being used in the U.S. to treat some coronavirus patients, involves the same protease, said Wu.

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