Researchers in the Netherlands have uncovered that honokiol, a compound found in the bark of magnolia trees, has the capacity to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus within the body.
The Potential Powerhouse of Honokiol in COVID-19 TreatmentAccording to the World Health Organization, the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has led to more than 766 million infections and close to 7 million deaths since it emerged in 2019, and the virus spreads quickly and has mutated into several variants.
Despite initial optimism surrounding vaccine development, the efficacy of these measures has proven less reliable than anticipated, underscoring the pressing need for effective antiviral treatments.
“Compared to vaccines, antivirals have advantages in terms of storage, distribution, administration, and acceptance by part of society,” the study reads.
Honokiol's Anti-Inflammatory Edge and VersatilityBeyond its capacity to curb viral replication, honokiol is anti-inflammatory, an attribute that could prove critical at later stages of the disease.
Carving the Path ForwardWith honokiol's promising results in cell cultures, the path has been paved for further investigation into its antiviral properties, including in vivo studies.
“Our study merely provides the basis for further research into potential therapeutic applications,” van Hemert said. “It is important to mention that it is too early to claim that honokiol might be used in SARS-CoV-2 patients. This requires much more research and—if successful—properly conducted clinical trials.”
Still, the future may well see honokiol stepping up from the realm of laboratory cultures to become a key player in our real-world arsenal against the formidable virus.
"If honokiol can be developed into a drug, possibly in combination with other compounds, stockpiling it would help us to increase our preparedness for the emergence of the next coronavirus," van Hemert said.