Molecular Mechanisms of Curcumin in COVID-19 Treatment and Prevention: A Global Health Perspective

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Nathan Roberts Robert E. Brown, MD L. Maximilian Buja, MD Priya Weerasinghe, MD, PhD


Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) has a near 4000-year history of extensive medical use in South Asia. Its main physiologically active phytochemical is curcumin (diferuloylmethane), derived from the rhizome of turmeric. Curcumin is a hydrophobic polyphenol with a diketone moiety connecting two phenoxy rings. It is widely available, and exerts systemic and pleiotropic effects via several key mechanisms. Most famously, it is known to inhibit pro-inflammatory pathways such as PI3k/akt/NF-kB activation. It is also a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger via a sequential proton loss electron transfer mechanism in ionizing solvents due to its extended conjugating ability across the entire molecule, and its ability to induce NRF-2. It has been implicated in the treatment of diseases ranging from asthma to various cancers, and is also a broad spectrum anti-microbial. COVID-19 is a novel beta-coronavirus that was declared a pandemic by the WHO in March, 2020. It is primarily a respiratory disorder, but it can spread hematogenously and effect many other organs such as the heart, nervous system, and kidneys. There is a significant intersection between the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 and curcumin’s therapeutic effects. In addition, curcumin has been shown to inhibit initial viral infectivity. Thus, there is potential for curcumin to safely both prevent and treat COVID-19 infection across the globe.

Keywords: COVID-19, Curcumin, Anti-viral, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-oxidant, Molecular mechanisms

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ROBERTS, Nathan et al. Molecular Mechanisms of Curcumin in COVID-19 Treatment and Prevention: A Global Health Perspective. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 8, n. 10, nov. 2020. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 july 2024. doi:
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