Could tannic acid treat COVID-19?
Tannic acid, found in particular in red wine and tea, could be considered to prevent infection induced by COVID-19. This is what a team of researchers suggests in collaboration with scientists from the University of Montreal, McGill University and the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM).
Tannic acid is a natural polyphenol. It is found in particular in many drinks, but in too small quantities to have protective effects.
Used as a drug, it would, on the other hand, be effective and less expensive than the antivirals currently on the market. While conducting their research, the team discovered that this acid would prevent the binding between the viral protein – called RBD – and the ACE2 receptor. The latter, located on the surface of cells in the body, acts as an entry point for the COVID-19 virus.
“Tannic acid binds to the RBD protein and thus prevents it from binding to the ACE2 receptor,” explains researcher Charles Ramassamy from the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS).
The researcher also points out that by blocking the viral protein, tannic acid does not alter the physiological functions of the ACE2 receptor, which is essential for the respiratory, cardiovascular and renal systems.
An alternative to antivirals
In light of these new discoveries, tannic acid could possibly become an interesting alternative to the antivirals currently used to treat COVID-19.
“It would be less expensive than the antivirals currently on the market, and the side effects would be less due to the low toxicity of the polyphenols”, emphasizes Professor Ramassamy.
In addition, tannic acid contains also anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, both of which are beneficial in remission from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The research team, which has used a multidisciplinary approach to date, is currently deepening its research by studying the effects of acid on other key mechanisms involved in COVID-19 infection . His work was recently published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.