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Antiviral activity of herbal extracts

Antiviral Activity of
Herbal Extracts
There has been growing concerns about a possible pandemic of virulent influenza especially after outbreaks caused by the H5N1 and H5N2 virus which have now occurred It has been documented by Dharmananda (2006) that currently, when the H5N1 and H5N2 flu virus infect humans, there is a greater than 50% death rate associated with it. Extensive efforts to control the avian flu such as destroying infected poultry populations and contaminated animals in the immediate vicinity were not fully effective in solving the problem. According to Balicer et al (2005), vaccines such as Tamiflu, have a low efficacy rate on the viruses and they are great in demand but short in supply. Dharmananda (2006) also reported that Chinese herbal therapies provide general actions, such as boosting the immune response system, so that it is able to eliminate the virus faster. At high enough dosage the herbs may have some direct inhibitory effects on viral Rationale
According to the Institute for Traditional Medicine and Preventive Health (2005), Chinese Herbs have great potential to destroy virus and boost the human immune system. At high enough dosages, these herbs may have direct inhibitory effects. Furthermore, Chinese herbs have mild or no side effects and are generally more affordable compared to certain Western medicine for treating viral infection (Institute for Traditional Medicine and Preventive Health, 2005). In this project, bacteriophage Lambda gt10, a virus that infects Escherichia coli bacteria, will be used. Using a software, EMBOSS check their similarities, Lambda gt10 was found to be 57.4% similar to the avian flu virus
H5N1, and 65.3% similar to the avian flu virus H5N2. Therefore, herbs that inhibit or kill the
Lambda gt10 virus may have a similar effect on viruses such as H5N1 or H5N2. This project will provide a platform for further research on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), especially on their antiviral properties. Lastly, it attempts to address the global threat posed by the avian flu and offers possible alternative remedies. Hypothesis
Herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine have antiviral properties. Objectives
1. To screen various Chinese herbs for antiviral activities 2. To study the antiviral properties of different Chinese herbs and suggest a combination of herbs that has good antiviral properties Outline of method
The following is an overview of our method: The following four Chinese herbs will be used in this study as they are known for their antiviral activities( Han, 1992; Hing, 2005 and Wiart et al, 2005): 1. "Chuan Xin Lian" - Andrographis paniculata 2. "Huang Qi" - Astragalus membranaceus 3. "Hu Zhang" - Polygonum cuspidatum 4. "Jin Yin Hua" - Lonicera japonica Water extracts will be prepared using the selected herbs. Extracts prepared will be screened for antiviral activities against the bacteriophage, Lambda gt10. The strength of the
antiviral activities of the herbal extracts will be quantified by the determination of reduction in
the number of plaques in a co-culture of E.coli and Lambda gt10 in the presence of the
extract. The greater the reduction in the number of plaques, the stronger the antiviral activity
of the extract. Combinations of herbal extracts that have antiviral activities will then be
examined for synergistic or antagonistic effects.

Safety precautions
During the experimentation, latex gloves will be worn when handling microorganisms. All
microbial cultures and vessels used to contain them will be decontaminated using an
autoclave before disposal.
A*STAR Bioinformatics Institute (2006). EMBOSS GUI. [On-Line]. Available: http://sbcr.bii.a- Last accessed 3rd April 2006.
Balicer, R, Huerta, M, Davidovitch, N and Grotto, I. (2005). Cost-Benefit of Stockpiling Drugs
for Influenza Pandemic. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Vol. 11(8) p 1280 - 1282. Dharmananda, S. (2006). Chinese Herb Response Flu Pandemic: Avian Flu and Other Han, J. (1991). Clinical and experimental study of effects of kang er xin-I on viral myocarditis. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi .Chinese Journal of Modern Developments in Traditional Medicine. Vol. 11(8) p. 452, 468-70. Last accessed 30th Jun 2006. Hing, J. (2005). Hu Zhang, Polygonum cuspidatum, Complementary and Alternative Healing University. [On-Line]. Available: Last accessed Institute for Traditional Medicine and Preventive Health. (2005). Why consider Chinese medicine as an alternative. [On-Line. Last properties of ent-labdene diterpenes of Andrographis paniculata nees, inhibitors of herpes Timeline
Analyse results, write up research paper


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