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Review: effects of phytochemicals and flavonoids in viral infections, with a focus on SARS-CoV-2 infection

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), generated by the novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2, emerged as a rapidly spreading communicable disease, still with an uncertain outcome worldwide. The respiratory symptoms caused by SARS-CoV-2 are similar to that of influenza virus, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV infection, being associated with rapid lung inflammation and overt cytokine storm, leading to a “viral sepsis”. The occurrence of alterations in cell-clearing pathways is emerging as a hallmark in the pathogenesis of numerous respiratory viruses, including influenza virus, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. Thus, understanding how SARS-CoV-2 alters these pathways, might contribute to disclosing the specific failure that occurs within different cell types, reflecting the multi-organ/multi-system nature of COVID-19. The present review focuses on the potential link between the effects of specific phytochemicals (resveratrol, quercetin, kaempferol, cordycepin, baicalein, baicalin) and the tuning of autophagy and UPS pathways in the frame of the multi-system disorder produced by CoV infections.

Limanaqi F, Busceti CL, Biagioni F, Lazzeri G, Forte M, Schiavon S, Sciarretta S, Frati G, Fornai F. Cell Clearing Systems as Targets of Polyphenols in Viral Infections: Potential Implications for COVID-19 Pathogenesis. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Nov 10;9(11):E1105.