Author(s): Mukhtar M, Arshad M, Ahmad M, Pomerantz RJ, Wigdahl B,
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Abstract Medicinal plants have been widely used to treat a variety of infectious and non-infectious ailments. According to one estimate, 25\% of the commonly used medicines contain compounds isolated from plants. Several plants could offer a rich reserve for drug discovery of infectious diseases, particularly in an era when the latest separation techniques are available on one hand, and the human population is challenged by a number of emerging infectious diseases on the other hand. Among several other ailments, viral infections, particularly infections associated with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and 2 (HIV-2), and newly emerging infectious viruses have challenged mankind survival. Of importance, a variety of medicinal plants have shown promise to treat a number of viral infections, and some of them possess broad-spectrum antiviral activity. In the past, exploration into the antiviral activity of various promising medicinal plants was limited due to: (a) highly infectious nature of viruses and (b) lack of appropriate separation techniques for the identification of antiviral components from plants. Development of vector-based strategies, in which non-infectious molecular clone of a virus could be used for antiviral screening purposes, and advancement in separation technologies offers promise for medicinal plants usage in modern drug discovery. This article describes potential antiviral properties of medicinal plants against a diverse group of viruses, and suggests screening the potential of plants possessing broad-spectrum antiviral effects against emerging viral infections.
This article was published in Virus Res
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology