Liquorice offers potential treatment for SARS
German Scientists have discovered that Glycyrrhizin, an active component of liquorice roots, can be effective against the SARS coronavirus.
The study, which was published in the Lancet (361; 9374:2045) compared the liquorice derivative with four other antivirals including ribavirin, the drug currently recommended for treatment of SARS.
Results showed that glycyrrhizin was the most potent inhibitor of the SARS virus replication in infected cell cultures and it inhibited adsorption and penetration of the virus.
Glycyrrhizin, which is already used in patients with HIV and hepatitis C, has a favourable safety profile compared with ribavirin. The main side effects are hypertension and hypokalaemia compared with the haemolysis that can occur with ribavirin.
The investigators said that glycyrrhizin should be assessed for treatment of SARS.