Chemical compounds in foods or beverages like green tea, muscadine grapes and dark chocolate can bind to and block the function of a particular enzyme, or protease, in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a new study by plant biologists at North Carolina State University.
Proteases are important to the health and viability of cells and viruses, says De-Yu Xie, professor of plant and microbial biology at NC State and the corresponding author of the study. If proteases are inhibited, cells cannot perform many important functions — like replication, for example.
“One of our lab’s focuses is to find nutraceuticals in food or medicinal plants that inhibit either how a virus attaches to human cells or the propagation of a virus in human cells,” Xie said.
In the study, the NC State researchers performed both computer simulations and lab studies showing how the so-called “main protease” (Mpro) in the