In vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 of plant extracts used in Colombian traditional medicine


  • Lizdany Flórez-Álvarez Grupo Inmunovirología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Antioquia UdeA, Medellín, Colombia.
  • Jahnnyer Martínez-Moreno Grupo Salud y Comunidad, Facultad de medicina, Universidad de Antioquia UdeA, Medellín, Colombia
  • María I. Zapata-Cardona Grupo Inmunovirología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Antioquia UdeA, Medellín, Colombia
  • Elkin Galeano Grupo de Investigación en Sustancias Bioactivas -GISB, Departamento de Farmacia, Facultad de Ciencias Farmacéuticas y Alimentarias, Universidad de Antioquia UdeA, Medellín, Colombia
  • Fernando Alzate-Guarin Grupo de Estudios Botánicos, Instituto de Biología, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia
  • Wildeman Zapata Grupo Infettare, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, Medellín, Colombia



SARS-CoV-2, Plant extract, Antiviral agents, Ethnobotany


Background: Coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has affected the life and health of more than 222 million people. In the absence of any specific pharmacological treatment, the need to find new therapeutic alternatives is clear. Medicinal plants are widely used worldwide to treat different conditions, including COVID-19; however, in most cases, there are no specific studies to evaluate the efficacy of these treatments. Objective: This article evaluates the antiviral effect of six plant extracts used by indigenous and afro Colombian people against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Methods: The antiviral effect of six extracts prepared from plants used in Colombian traditional medicine was evaluated against SARS-CoV-2 through a pre-post treatment strategy on the Vero E6 cell line. Once cytotoxicity was established through an MTT assay, the antiviral effect of the extracts was calculated based on the reduction in the viral titer determined by plaque assay. Results: Gliricidia sepium inhibited SARS-CoV-2 in a 75.6%, 56.8%, 62.5% and 40.0% at 10 mg/mL, 8 mg/mL, 6 mg/mL, and 2 mg/mL, respectively, while P. tuberculatum treatment reduced viral titer in 33.3% at 6 mg/mL after 48h. Conclusion: G. sepium and P. tuberculatum extracts exhibit antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro.

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Antiviral Activity



06-02-2022 — Updated on 23-02-2022


How to Cite

Flórez-Álvarez, L., Martínez-Moreno, J. ., Zapata-Cardona, M. I. ., Galeano, E. ., Alzate-Guarin, F. ., & Zapata, W. . (2022). In vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 of plant extracts used in Colombian traditional medicine. Vitae, 29(1). (Original work published February 6, 2022)



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