OREANDA-NEWS. Chinese scientists have found that clove tree inflorescences contain substances that can block the activity of the Mpro protein, one of three key enzymes needed for a new type of coronavirus to reproduce. The experts published the results of the study on bioRxiv.

"We found that the inflorescences of those varieties of clove tree used in Chinese traditional medicine have previously unknown varieties of pectins that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 multiplication. Unlike other sugars, the substances we discovered directly inhibit the Mpro enzyme rather than preventing the virus from entering cells,"- the paper said.

According to the scientists, the Mpro enzyme is almost unchanged as the coronavirus evolves, making pectins from cloves particularly attractive as a means of combating COVID-19.

The discovery, led by Ding Kang, a professor at the Shanghai Institute of Pharmacology at CAS, was made as part of a 'census' of the sugary substances present in cloves that potentially have bactericidal and antiviral properties. The researchers studied how the plant's extract acts on infected cells and individual sugar molecules act on a new type of coronavirus. It turned out that these polysaccharides could slow down the formation of new viral particles in infected cells by 99.9%.

Earlier, scientists in Wuhan proved that some drugs created to fight hepatitis C and Ebola can slow down the multiplication of SARS-CoV-2. Some of these are now used in medical practice to treat COVID-19, but researchers are still searching for other agents capable of slowing down the virus' reproduction. Some substances present in extracts of black tea, snake venom and wormwood can also inhibit the reproduction of SARS-CoV-2, scientists say.