A group of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi have claimed that the covid-19 virus can be treated with the help of a Himalayan flowering tree. The latter has antiviral properties and can be used in treatment against coronavirus.Also Read - Covid or no COVID, Work From Home Policy Stays on Table For Several Companies | Full List

Shyam Kumar Masakapalli, a plant biologist said to a newsportal,“ We had some knowledge about the medicinal plants and started documenting phytochemical molecules of rare and endangered plants growing in the Himalayas. Initially, the idea was to create a library which will be useful for future therapeutic purposes, food industry, nutrition purposes, etc. But it was during the 2020 lockdown forced by the Covid-19 pandemic that we decided to look deeper at those molecules that were already documented.” Shyam, along with his team from the School of Basic Science, have been looking into the area of rare and endangered plants in the Himalayas since 2019. Also Read - Japanese Man Mistakenly Receives Entire Town's Covid Relief Funds, Spends It All on Online Gambling!

They have published their findings in the journal Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics. Also Read - India Reports First Case Of Omicron Subvariant BA.4 in Hyderabad

The IIT Mandi team was involved in scanning a number of plants for their phytochemical molecules and properties through a computational simulation test. However, it did not succeed initially. Almost 20 plant molecules that were shortlisted failed. Yet, encouraging results emerged from red Rhododendron arboretum, locally known as buransh, which has been taken up for further analysis.

Dr Sujatha Sunil and Dr Ranjan Nanda at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Delhi, have also contributed to the research. These scientists have performed using hot water on the extracts of the buransh flower.

Shyam, Associate Professor of BioX Centre at IIT-Mandi, said,” The cells infected with SARS-Cov2 virus, when subjected to this specially prepared Buransh flower extract in a dose-dependent manner, were kept under an incubation of 48 hours. It was found that the viral multiplication was affected. At a concentration of 1 mg/ml, nearly 80 per cent inhibition was achieved.”

“ A combination of phytochemical profiling, computer simulations and in vitro antiviral assays showed that extracts from the Buransh petals inhibited the replication of the Covid-19 virus in a dose-dependent manner,” said Dr Sunil.

According to Dr Nanda, this flower is a potential candidate against coronavirus.