Optimization of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Treatments Based on Curcumin, Used Alone or Employed as a Photosensitizer.
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Curcumin, the bioactive compound of the spice , has already been reported as a potential COVID-19 adjuvant treatment due to its immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, SARS-CoV-2 was challenged with curcumin; moreover, curcumin was also coupled with laser light at 445 nm in a photodynamic therapy approach. Curcumin at a concentration of 10 μM, delivered to the virus prior to inoculation on cell culture, inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication (reduction >99%) in Vero E6 cells, possibly due to disruption of the virion structure, as observed using the RNase protection assay. However, curcumin was not effective as a prophylactic treatment on already-infected Vero E6 cells. Notably, when curcumin was employed as a photosensitizer and blue laser light at 445 nm was delivered to a mix of curcumin/virus prior to the inoculation on the cells, virus inactivation was observed (>99%) using doses of curcumin that were not antiviral by themselves. Photodynamic therapy employing crude curcumin can be suggested as an antiviral option against SARS-CoV-2 infection.