Targeting autophagy with natural products to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Università del Piemonte Orientale, Department of Health Sciences, Novara, Italy. Holistic Sync, Holistic Integrative Medicine, USA.

Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. 2022;(1):55-68
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Autophagy is a catabolic process that maintains internal homeostasis and energy balance through the lysosomal degradation of redundant or damaged cellular components. During virus infection, autophagy is triggered both in parenchymal and in immune cells with different finalistic objectives: in parenchymal cells, the goal is to destroy the virion particle while in macrophages and dendritic cells the goal is to expose virion-derived fragments for priming the lymphocytes and initiate the immune response. However, some viruses have developed a strategy to subvert the autophagy machinery to escape the destructive destiny and instead exploit it for virion assembly and exocytosis. Coronaviruses (like SARS-CoV-2) possess such ability. The autophagy process requires a set of proteins that constitute the core machinery and is controlled by several signaling pathways. Here, we report on natural products capable of interfering with SARS-CoV-2 cellular infection and replication through their action on autophagy. The present study provides support to the use of such natural products as adjuvant therapeutics for the management of COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the virus infection and replication, and so mitigating the progression of the disease.

Methodological quality

Publication Type : Review