Hemp compounds stop coronavirus from entering human cells

A new research has shown that hemp compounds are capable of stopping coronavirus from entering human cells. The study by Oregon State University identified a few hemp compounds via a chemical screening technique invented at the university. The findings of the study have been published in Journal of Natural Products.

Hemp, known scientifically as Cannabis sativa, is a source of fiber, food and animal feed, and multiple hemp extracts and compounds are added to cosmetics, body lotions, dietary supplements and food. Researchers found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.

The compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, and the spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. A drug target is any molecule critical to the process a disease follows, meaning its disruption can thwart infection or disease progression. Those two variants are also known the alpha and beta variant, respectively.

Characterized by crown-like protrusions on its outer surface, SARS-CoV-2 features RNA strands that encode its four main structural proteins – spike, envelope, membrane and nucleocapsid – as well as 16 nonstructural proteins and several “accessory” proteins.

Using compounds that block virus-receptor interaction has been helpful for patients with other viral infections including HIV-1 and hepatitis.

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