Peruvoside, a compound derived from plants, has demonstrated strong antiviral properties against 12 different viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, and could offer a new therapeutic option for multiple viral diseases, according to a study led by Associate Professor Justin Chu at the National University of Singapore.
Peruvoside, which is conventionally used in heart failure treatment, has been found to effectively block the replication of various viruses by inhibiting a protein called GBF1 that is essential for virus production.
The study involved a high-throughput screening of thousands of compounds to identify one with broad-spectrum antiviral capabilities. Peruvoside emerged as an ideal candidate due to its ability to prevent the replication of a variety of infectious viruses with minimal side effects. “This study shows great significance for Peruvoside to be considered as a general cellular target and an anti-viral therapeutic for medically important virus-mediated diseases, especially when no vaccine and therapeutic is available,” said Assoc. Prof Chu.
Notably, the study tested Peruvoside’s effectiveness against Enterovirus, which causes Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. With a treatment dosage of 0.5 milligrams, the compound showed 100% efficacy, leaving no detectable virus in tissues.
The team also assessed the toxicity of Peruvoside through the LDH assay, measuring liver enzyme levels in the bloodstream. Results indicated very low toxicity levels for the compound at different concentrations.
Peruvoside’s antiviral action is focused on the cellular level, inhibiting the replication process of viruses within infected cells. This is particularly significant for positive-sense RNA viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2 and Dengue virus, which replicate in the cell cytoplasm. However, Peruvoside also proved effective against other viruses that are not in this group, such as those causing Herpes Cold Sores and H1N1 Human Influenza A.
Assoc Prof Chu and his team plan to further modify Peruvoside to enhance its pharmacological properties and safety profile, with the aim of making it eligible for clinical trials.
The study has been published in Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B.