Emodin and the SARS Coronavirus

Emodin and the SARS Coronavirus

(From Potential Antiviral Agents for Coronaviruses: Compounds, Herbal Products, and Drug Targets)

  • SARS-CoV spike (S) protein is a type I membrane-bound protein (Ho et al., 2007).
  • It has an elemental role for the viral attachment to the host cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).
  • The screening of 312 medicinal herbs found three herbs of the family Polygonaceae with potential antiviral effects (Ho et al., 2007).
  • The herbs suppressed the interactions between the S protein and ACE2.
  • The three herbs were:
    • Radix et Rhizoma Rhei (the root tubers of Rheum officinale Baill.);
    • Radix Polygoni multiflori (the root tubers of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb.);
    • Caulis Polygoni multiflori (the vines of P. multiflorum Thunb.).
  • Emodin is an anthraquinone compound extracted from genus Rheum and Polygonum.
  • Emodin inhibited the S protein and ACE2 interaction in a dose-dependent way.
  • It also suppressed the infectivity of S protein-pseudotyped retrovirus.
  • Emodin may become a potential antiviral agent for the therapy of SARS (Ho et al., 2007).


Ho, T.-Y., Wu, S.-L., Chen, J.-C., Li, C.-C., & Hsiang, C.-Y. (2007). Emodin blocks the SARS coronavirus spike protein and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 interaction. Antiviral Research, 74(2), 92–101.

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