A corona outbreak
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which is affecting 210 countries and territories around the globe has turned out to be a matter of concern due to it’s higher multiplication rate and is declared as a pandemic outbreak by the WHO (World Health Organization). The virus strain SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the larger family of coronavirus. Other known strains of viruses belonging to this family was earlier known to cause infections ranging from common cold to severe disease such as middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The coronavirus strain causing COVID-19 disease which was identified initially in china (wuhan) in the year 2019 is known to cause the complexity in respiration and thus would lead to the death of an individual in certain cases.
How the virus spreads?
Initially the origin of SARS-CoV-2 was found to be from an animal source. The deadly virus now seems to be spreading from one person to another person. The new strain of coronavirus is not only causing respiratory illness but also known to affect the digestive tract as well.
The SARS-CoV-2 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or discharge from the nose or through droplets of saliva. Hence, people of all age groups can be exposed to this deadly virus.
Meanwhile, infants as well as elderly people and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart diseases are prone to be more susceptible to the virus due to the weak immunity.
COVID-19 is a spherical or pleomorphic enveloped particles which has single- stranded (positive-sense) RNA associated with a nucleoprotein within a capsid comprised of matrix protein. The envelope bears club shaped glycoprotein projections.
In order for the virus to get complete access into the cell, initially the spike protein has to be primed by an enzyme named protease. This protease is known to be TMPRSS2. The action of TMPRSS2 plays a very important role in order to complete the process of attack. The spike protein which is said to be a viral receptor, goes and binds with the ligand angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), present on
the lineage of the cell and thus gets activated by the protease enzyme (TMPRSS2).
After the entry of virus into the host cell it releases the genome, which is further transcribed and translated. The transcription takes place in the cytoplasmic membrane which results in the drastic increase in the replication of RNA of the virus which involves the enzyme reverse transcriptase.
What’s the preventive methods ?
Presently, no vaccine is being available for the COVID-19. Although, numerous studies and clinical trials have been carried out further with the suitable compounds which seems to possess the properties to cure the individuals suffering from the disease, there is an immediate need for the discovery of new drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.
How about using Nigella sativa (Kalonji seeds) as the better preventive method against novel viral disease COVID -19?
Nigella sativa is a plant species which belongs to the family Ranunculaceae which has been used as one of the prominent medicinal plant throughout the world. The fruit of the plant has numerous amount of seeds which are black in color, flattened and rough in texture. The seeds of Nigella sativa also called as kalonji seeds or black cumin seeds releases certain bio-active complexes as a metabolite in the form of oil which contains linoleic, oleic, palmitic, chidonic, eicosadienoic, stearic and myristic acid as well as aromatic components such as beta-sitosterol, cycloeucalenol, cycloartenol, sterol esters and sterol glucosides. The volatile oil (0.4-0.45 %) contains saturated fatty acids which inculdes: nigellone (the only component of the carbonyl fraction of the oil), thymoquinone (TQ), thymohydroquinone (THQ), dithymoquinone, thymol, carvacrol, α and β-pinene, d-limnonene, d-citronellol, p-cymene and other alkaloids such as nigellidine, nigellimine and nigellicine which includes 40% fixed oil and 1.4% volatile oil as well as pentacyclic triterpenoid saponin α-Hederin which is said to be water soluble. Presence off all these components have made these black cumin seeds as one of the promising cure for many of the diseases. It is also found to be mentioned in the bible stating that “ This black seed is a cure for every disease except death”.
The nigellidine (alkaloid) is a natural product containing an indazole nucleus which includes basic nitrogen atom, having neutral or weakly acidic properties; whereas on the other hand α-Hederin is a pentacyclic triterpenoid saponin which is water soluble. These two components are known to exhibit the docking/binding capability with the two important protease structure present in the virus and thus, prevent further rapid multiplication of the virus within the human body.
Thymoquinone (TQ), being an aromatic compound is known to possess 20 promising medicinal properties such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, anticancer, antibacterial , antifungal , antiviral and other important biological activities such as immunomodulatory, antinociception, antihistamic as well as immunity boosting effect etc.
Thymoquinone, being a phytochemical compound found in the extract of the plant N.Sativa is used as a herbal medicine with it's wider range of medical properties. It is said that thymoquinone possess an antiviral property and has an ability of indiscriminately binding to many proteins. Along with which, it exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.These collective properties are known to be a mode of treatment for Bronchial asthma as well as sinusitis which are known to possess similar symptoms when compared to that of COVID-19 disease. On this basis, thymoquinone could be potentially used as a preventive measure in order to impede the COVID-19 symptoms which are identical to the effective treatment of thymoquinone on asthma, cough, fever etc.
The important chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) from COVID-19 (PDB ID:6LU7) is known to have the function of linking the viral polypeptide chain onto the main protein and is capable of exhibiting docking effect with the ligand of nigellidine (pyrazol alkaloid), which is found as a metabolite in the plant extract of the above mentioned species. This docking effect is indeed found to be better than hydroxychloroquine and comparable to chloroquine. Similarly, the main protease of SARS coronavirus Mpro (PDB ID: 2GTB) exhibits the docking effect with the α-Hederin which is found to be better in comparison with chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine as well as favipiravir. The docking effects of these complexes were estimated using the Molecular Operating Environment software (MOE).
Possible home remedy for the resistance against COVID-19
During this adverse condition in major part of the globe, home remedies - which could probably protect them from this devastating virus is the immediate requirement for all the individuals. Since the above mentioned components (Thymoquinone, α-Hederin and Nigellidine) are present in the seeds of the plant Nigellasativa, consuming the commercially available seeds (black cumin seeds/kalonji seeds) in the scientific manner would be of great importance. Since the bio-availability of these compounds are too low when consumed in a direct raw manner, it would be better to granulate these seeds into powdered form and mix the same with a glass of warm water.
Since the three vital components are lipophilic in nature, adding a table spoon of honey would help these components to adhere to the honey molecules and further would also improve the bio-availability of of the same inside the body, enhancing the capability of the body to fight against the coronavirus. Hence, with all these collective properties of the above mentioned compone