Sensation: Asian medicinal plant effective against Ebola viruses

A herbal remedy works against the Ebola virus. The production of the virus' own proteins is largely avoided if the natural product is used. This is shown by scientists in a recent study.

Dangerous pathogens such as the Ebola virus use enzymes in their host cells to convert their own genetic information into proteins. The researchers investigated whether the natural product silvestrol inhibits a cellular enzyme that ebola viruses need to produce their own proteins.

Silvestrol is obtained from the Asian mahogany family Aglaia foveolata and is used in cancer research to inhibit the cell's enzyme eIF4A.

The researchers found that Silvestrol causes the virus concentration in the cells to drop sharply. Viral proteins almost completely disappear. The experiments show that the Ebola virus relies on the eIF4A enzyme of the host cell to produce its own proteins. It is therefore almost impossible for the Ebola virus to escape the antiviral effects of Silvestrol by mutations in its own genome.

The effective silvestrol concentration was found to be non-toxic to human cells. You can find the study here.

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