Scientists Discover First ‘Virological Penicillin’ in Japanese Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica

Chinese researchers have discovered what they say is the first ‘virological penicillin’ – MIR2911, a molecule found naturally in a Chinese herb called honeysuckle.
Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is a well-known Chinese herb. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been used to effectively treat influenza infection for centuries.
Several previous studies have confirmed that the herb, usually consumed in the form of a tea, can suppress the replication of influenza virus.
However, the active anti-viral components and the mechanism by which they block viral replication have remained unclear.
Now, a team of researchers headed by Dr Chen-Yu Zhang of Nanjing University in China has identified MIR2911 (honeysuckle-encoded atypical microRNA2911) as the first active component directly targeting various influenza viruses, including the swine flu H1N1, highly pathogenic avian H5N1 and H7N9 infections.
MIR2911 represses influenza viruses by targeting PB2 and NS1, two genes that are known to be required for influenza viral replication.

With its broad-spectrum, anti-viral activity against influenza viruses, MIR2911 and MIR2911-containing honeysuckle tea may represent a new effective therapeutic strategy that can be used to subdue deadly infections.
“It is important to note that since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin nearly a century ago, antibiotics have been developed to target various bacterial infections and have saved the lives of millions of people,” the scientists wrote in a paper published in the journal Cell Research.
“Unfortunately, no natural product that is effective against viral infection has been identified thus far.”
“We suggest that as the first natural product to directly target influenza A viruses, MIR2911 is the ‘virological penicillin’ that serves as a novel therapeutic and preventive agent against not only influenza A, but potentially also other types of viruses.”

Article Sources:

USA: http://www.sci-news.com/   
USA: medicalxpress.com
UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk
OZ: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/ 

Tea Source: Honeysuckle Tea
Seed Source: Seeds for Growing


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