• Revista Sapience

A study with a typical plant in northeastern Brazil points out potential against SARS-CoV-2

In the past months, the global pandemic of Covid-19, caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has mobilized scientists around the world, in search of bioactive molecules capable of inhibiting the virus. An alternative that has been widely studied is the use of medicinal plants with molecules with pharmacology potential. The Pilocarpus microphyllus Stapf ex Wardleworth plant, known in the north and northeast of Brazil by the popular name of jaborandi. This plant, which belongs to the botanical family of Rutaceae (same family as orange and lemon) is already widely used in medicine, especially due to the extraction of substances such as pilocarpine, used to reduce intraocular pressure, in the control of glaucoma. But in general, the use of jaborandi goes beyond ophthalmic diseases: it is used against flu, fever, inflammation, pneumonia, asthma, diabetes, rheumatism, among other diseases. The study was published by the journal Molecular Simulation with the original title of “In silico study of the interactions of Pilocarpus microphyllus imidazolic alkaloids with the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2”. It deals with an in silico study, in which computer simulations are made using the structure of molecules extracted from the plant. 10 plant molecules were tested: pilosine, isopilosine, epiisopilosine, epiisopiloturine, pilocarpine, isopilocarpine, pilocarpidine, isopylocarpidine, pilosinine and 13-nor-7 (11 )-dehydro-pilocarpine. Of these four, they showed greater affinity in relating to Mpro, a protease found in the SARS-CoV2 viral capsid. They were: Epiisopiloturine (EPR), Epiisopilosine (EPS), Isopilosine (IPS) and Pilosine (PS). The next step of this research will be to carry out an in vitro study of all the molecules present in the jaborandi, to prove the in silico data found in the research. For this, an agreement between the researcher Francisco Lima, UESPI and the company SourceTech Química LTDA will be consolidated, and, thus, this research will continue in the future.


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Ézio R. A. de Sá¹,Allan N. Costa²,Rayla K. M. Costa³,Janilson L. Souza⁴,Ricardo M. Ramos⁵ & Francisco das C. A. Lima⁶


¹Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Piauí, IFPI, Picos, Brazil

²Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Pará, IFPA, Conceição do Araguaia, Brazil

³Research Laboratory of the Computational Quantum Chemistry and Drug Planning Group, Chemistry Department, State Univerty of Piauí, GQQC&PF/UESPI, Teresina, Brazil

Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Maranhão, IFMA, Bacabal, Brazil

Research Laboratory in Information Systems, Information Department, Environment, Health and Food Production, Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Piauí, LaPeSI/IFPI, Teresina, Brazil

Research Laboratory of the Computational Quantum Chemistry and Drug Planning Group, Chemistry Department, State Univerty of Piauí, GQQC&PF/UESPI, Teresina, Brazil