A review by a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal has identified biomolecular links between COVID-19, aging and diabetes. The review, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, said existing drugs used to treat diabetes, obesity and aging could potentially be used to treat COVID-19. Similar naturally occurring biomolecules were also discovered in combination for COVID treatment.
“There are classes of polyphenol-like compounds found in plant-based diets, curcumin (found in turmeric), and resveratrol (found in grapes), shown not only to slow the aging process, but It also has anti-viral properties, Dr. Amjad Hussain, Principal Scientist and CEO of Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IICE), IISER Bhopal said in a statement.
Some other polyphenols that researchers have identified as being useful for both COVID-19 treatment and concomitant conditions such as diabetes and aging may include catechins. green tea, cocoa and berries), procyanidins (found in the skin of apples, cinnamon, and grapes), and theaflavins (found in black tea).
The researchers also present evidence for some existing potential anti-aging drugs such as rapamycin that may be explored for COVID-19 treatment due to the common biochemical pathways associated with these diseases. Another such example is the drug metformin, which is commonly used to control blood sugar.
The review showed that at the molecular level, there are common intersecting pathways for diabetes, aging and COVID-19. All three conditions are associated with oxidative stress and a decrease in the immune response and the complications arising from them trigger many other diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, eye diseases, neuropathy (nerve diseases), and nephropathy (kidney problems).
The researchers believe that an ideal therapeutic candidate for COVID-19 should be able to target pathways that are common to diabetes, aging, and SARS-CoV-2 infection.
In addition, computational studies have shown that lipids present in cell membranes play an important role in coronavirus infectivity.
The team explained that natural compounds such as polyphenols can affect the binding of viruses to receptors and molecular interactions necessary for virus replication and release, preventing infection in its early stages.