Researchers in Canada have conducted a study suggesting that novel Cannabis sativa extracts may decrease levels of the host cell receptor that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses to gain viral entry to target tissues.
SARS-CoV-2 is the agent responsible for the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that continues to sweep the globe threatening public health and the worldwide economy.
The team – from the University of Lethbridge and Pathway Rx Inc., Lethbridge – developed hundreds of new C. sativa cultivars and tested 23 extracts in artificial 3D human models of the oral, airway and intestinal tissues.
As recently reported in the journal Aging, 13 of the extracts downregulated expression of the SARS-CoV-2 host cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).
“The observed down-regulation of ACE2 gene expression by several tested extracts of new C. sativa cultivars is a novel and crucial finding,” say the researchers.
“While our most effective extracts require further large-scale validation, our study is important for future analyses of the effects of medical cannabis on COVID-19,” write Olga Kovalchuk and colleagues.
Overview of the experimental models and setups. H&E-stained cross-sections are courtesy of MatTek Life Sciences.