Dark chocolate and green tea, compounds that block coronavirus enzyme

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The enzyme whose function is blocked is the ‘main protease’ (Mpro) inSARS-CoV-2. The virus requires this enzyme in order to replicate. If MPro is blocked or deactivated, the virus cannot survive.

  • Certain foods and beverages such as green tea, dark chocolate and muscadine grapes — a grapevine species native to parts of the United States — contain chemical compounds that can block the function of a key enzyme in the novel coronavirus, a new study has found. 
  • The enzyme whose function is blocked is the ‘main protease’ (Mpro) in SARS-CoV-2.
  • The virus requires this enzyme in order to replicate. 
  • If MPro is blocked or deactivated, the virus cannot survive.
  • Two varieties of muscadine grapes, cacao powder and dark chocolate, these chemical compounds were already known for their potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 
  • When tested against Mpro, the chemicals were able to bind to different portions of the enzyme. 
  • Once this binding took place, the protease lost its important function.
  • The chemical compounds in green tea and muscadine grapes were found to be very successful at inhibiting Mpro’s function.
  • In green tea, there were five tested chemical compounds binding to different sites in the pocket on Mpro, and essentially overwhelming it to inhibit its function. 
  • Muscadine grapes contain these inhibitory chemicals in their skins and seeds. 
  • Chemical compounds in cacao powder and dark chocolate reduced Mpro activity by about half, the researchers reported.
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