The comprehensive study on the therapeutic effects of baicalein for the treatment of COVID-19 in vivo and in vitro.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2021 01 ;183:114302. Epub 2020 Oct 27. PMID: 33121927
Baicalein is the main active compound of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, a medicinal herb with multiple pharmacological activities, including the broad anti-virus effects. In this paper, the preclinical study of baicalein on the treatment of COVID-19 was performed. Results showed that baicalein inhibited cell damage induced by SARS-CoV-2 and improved the morphology of Vero E6 cells at a concentration of 0.1 μM and above. The effective concentration could be reached after oral administration of 200 mg/kg crystal form β of baicalein in rats. Furthermore, baicalein significantly inhibited the body weight loss, the replication of the virus, and relieved the lesions of lung tissue in hACE2 transgenic mice infected with SARS-CoV-2. In LPS-induced acute lung injury of mice, baicalein improved the respiratory function, inhibited inflammatory cell infiltration in the lung, and decreased the levels of IL-1β and TNF-α in serum. In conclusion, oral administration of crystal form β of baicalein couldreach its effective concentration against SARS-CoV-2. Baicalein could inhibit SARS-CoV-2-induced injury both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, baicalein might be a promising therapeutic drug for the treatment of COVID-19.