OPCs inhibit replication of SARS-COVID-2 virus

The best and most efficient approach to deal with SARS-COVID-2 is not to vaccinate millions of people, but to switch off and inactivate the virus’ replication “machinery.”
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Even though SARS-COVID-2 and other “Corona” viruses may produce mild to severe respiratory diseases, it is a mistake to define the virus as the condition that it produces. SARS-Covid-2 is a risk factor in the development of human disease. It is not the disease it may cause. Whether a virus actually produces disease symptoms depends most of all on its capacity to penetrate into your body cells and, once inside, “replicate,” which means: “make copies of itself.” If the virus can “go viral” by replicating undisturbedly, its capacity to produce adverse reactions then largely depends on the strength and agility of your immune system to overcome the deleterious effects set in motion by the virus. Therefore, the best and most efficient approach to deal with SARS-COVID-2 is not to vaccinate millions of people, but to switch off and inactivate the virus’ replication “machinery.”

The Main Protease of the virus controls replication

This article is not the place to explain in great detail how the SARS-COVID-2 virus actually replicates itself. What you need to know is that replication can only occur when certain proteins, fabrics of amino acids that are part of the virus’ structure, have been split. A key role in this protein-splitting is played by an enzyme that also forms an integral part of the virus. The enzyme that makes this “self-replication” possible goes by the appropriate name of “Main Protease” or “Mpro.” No wonder that blocking, neutralizing or otherwise making ineffective the virus’ Mpro ranks high(est) on the list of pharmaceutical research since the appearance of SARS-COVID-2. Most of this research focuses on what I call the “Mprohibitive” capacity of existing drugs and other pharmacologically active substances. Maybe you have heard of or read about the drugs Remdesivir and Ivermectin. These pharmaceuticals aim at neutralizing the virus’ Mpro. Practically all this research was and is performed in computer modelling and laboratory settings. 

Drug discovery takes time

Just to show you what’s going on in this field of research, here’s a quote from one of the many articles that have been published in high-ranking scientific journals around the world. “With respect to drug development, the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 stands out as a promising viral target, [… ] However, […] the development of novel specific protease inhibitors and their approval will take several years.” Investigating known drugs that have been approved for other indications can provide an accelerated route to apply for approval to combat the effects of SARS-Covid-2. This is “likely the only option to address the current COVID-19 crisis. […] Given the long-term nature of drug discovery projects, […] now is the best time to progress protease inhibitors to anti-coronaviral drugs.” ([I]) Yes, there’s a rush going on toward getting the desired “Mprohibitive” result and a marketing authorization.   

Remdesivir and Ivermectin were tested in clinical Covid-trials

Of course, when you want to market “Mprohibitors” as drugs and accompany them with medical claims concerning their capacity to prevent or treat the disease produced by the virus, you must not only demonstrate a product’s “Mprohibitive” capacity. You must also demonstrate a significant reduction of the related disease symptoms. Remdesivir has been tested in clinical trials, but unfortunately it did not reduce the mortality rate of Covid-patients. Ivermectin has also been clinically tested, with very impressive positive results, but nowhere has the compound yet received a marketing authorization for the prevention or treatment of diseases caused by the SARS-Covid-2 virus. However, in some countries doctors may prescribe Ivermectin on their own responsibility. 

The mineral Zinc and Hydroxychloroquin

What if we would primarily focus on a compound’s “Mprohibitive” capacity ? Are we then limited to investigating only known and existing drugs ? Not really. We can also investigate foods, foodstuffs and essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals and botanicals) to see whether they can prohibit or inhibit the replication of a virus. We know, for instance, that the mineral zinc is capable of slowing down viral replication, especially when it is taken in combination with compounds that effectively carry zinc into the cells. One such carrier is a hydroxychloroquin or HCQ. This zinc-carrier made headlines worldwide, because, after having been demonized as “extremely dangerous” by public health authorites and mainstream media for almost a year, it has now been officially acknowledged that, when taken with a zinc supplement, it is very efficient in the early treatment of Covid-19 infection. In a recent publication in the American Journal of Medicine, a team of no less than 23 medical experts confirm: “Zinc is a known inhibitor of coronavirus replication. […] Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is an antimalarial/anti-inflammatory drug that is also a zinc [carrier] that conveys zinc intracellularly to block the SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, which is the core enzyme of the virus replication.” 

Flavanols and OPCs also inhibit SARS-Covid-2 replication

In line with this kind of research, another study was performed at the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology at North Caroline State University by researchers Yue Zhu and De-Yu Xie. They tested the “Mprobitive” capacity of the botanical compounds flavan-3-ols (and several of the gallated forms) and their dimers (“pairs” of flavanols called dimeric OPCs). These substances form part of OPCs-extracts such as the one developed by Prof. Jack Masquelier. As readers of my book OPCs, Dr. Jack Masquelier’s Mark on Health and of this website know, single and “paired” flavanols occur in a variety of foods (grapes, red wine, tea, cacao, etc.). In the publication describing their work, ([ii]) Zhu & Xie present a detailed account of their investigation of a number of flavanol-3-ols and several of their oligomers (oligomeric proanthocyanidins / “PA”). They conclude that their research showed that various forms of flavanols and OPCs “inhibited the Mpro activity of SARS-Cov-2. Moreover, the compound-rich extracts of green tea, muscadine grape, cacao, and dark chocolate also inhibited the Mpro activity. Given that there is not an effective medicine for the treatment of COVID-19 and not a vaccine for preventing against the SARS-Cov-2 infection and transmission, these data recommend that these nutraceutical compounds and extracts of green tea, grape, and cacao can be utilized to interfere the devastation of SARS-Cov-2.” 

Do Masquelier’s OPCs “fit the bill” ?

Even though all this looks definitely promising, the problem with Zhu & Xie’s publication is that the category of ingredients containing flavanols and OPCs is extremely broad and most of them are ill or not defined and characterized. When Zhu & Xie use terms such as “compound-rich extracts of green tea, muscadine grape, cacao, and dark chocolate,” that doesn’t help us very much when we go shopping in this category of herbal medicines and food supplements containing one or more these active ingredients. Prof. Masquelier’s OPCs, for instance, do comprise flavanols (catechins) and the “PB2”-type OPC that Zhu & Xie found effective in “blocking” SARS-Covid-2’s replication mechanism. Besides the fact that it is a well defined, well characterized and safe authentic food-ingredient, its composition suggests that it may very well play an efficient role in interfering with SARS-Covid-2’s replication mechanism.

Masquelier’s OPCs and their multiple other health benefits

Zhu & Xie also note that single flavanols (catechins) and proanthocyanidins (OPCs) “are potent antioxidants with multiple benefits to human health.” They cite numerous studies that indicate that multiple compounds from these two groups have been shown to have antiviral function and antibacterial activity. They even mention the beneficial role of certain flavanols and OPCs in the fields of cancer, cardiovascular disease and aging. These other health benefits of flavanols and OPCs are quite relevant, because COVID-19 is not just causing respiratory problems. It also seems to disturb microvascular function. We know that numerous pertinent human, animal and cell studies strongly support the claim that Masquelier’s OPCs can help maintain healthy microvascular structures and functions by positively acting on the microvasculature’s homeostasis. OPCs do this by supporting the constituent network of the microvascular wall by protecting collagen and elastin fibers against degradation as well as enhancing synthesis of collagen and by combating inflammation and oxidative stress. Combining Zhu & Xie’s hopeful findings and the many decades of solid research that show Masquelier’s OPCs’ multiple beneficial effects on human health, the role of this botanical compound in the maintainance of your health in the year 2021 should be seriously considered.

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[I] The SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease as Drug Target; Sven Ullrich, Christoph Nitsche; Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters; Accepted for publication: 29 June 2020
[ii] Docking Characterization and in vitro Inhibitory Activity of Flavan-3-ols and Dimeric Proanthocyanidins Against the Main Protease Activity of SARS-Cov-2; Yue Zhu and De-Yu Xie; Frontiers in Plant Science; November 2020.