Could coffee offer protection against COVID-19?

Le café pourrait offrir une protection contre la capture de COVID-19Power and function (2022). DOI: 10.1039/D2FO00394E” width=”800″ height=”321″/>

Published structure of the Spike ACE-2 protein complex. Overall structure of the RBD-ACE2-B0AT1 complex. (A) Cryo-EM map of the RBD-ACE2-B0AT1 complex. (B) The overall structure of the RBD-ACE2-B0AT1 complex. The figure is taken from Yan et al. (2020). Credit: Food and function (2022). DOI: 10.1039/D2FO00394E

Could consuming a cup of coffee be an effective way to protect against coronavirus infection? What has not yet been proven in practice is at least very plausible according to biochemical research.

The team led by chemist Professor Nikolai Kuhnert, including Dorothea Schmidt and Nicholas Ohl from Jacobs University, were able to show experimentally – in the laboratory – that the chemical compound 5-caffeoylquinic acid (trivial name: chlorogenic acid), which is found in coffee, inhibits by a factor of 50 the interaction between the SARS CoV-2 spike protein of the coronavirus and the ACE-2 receptor, the anchor site of the virus on the human cell.

A regular cup of drip coffee – in the lab it’s exactly 200 milliliters – contains about 100 milligrams of 5-caffeoylquinic acid. Laboratory experiments have shown that 5-caffeoylquinic acid at this concentration is high enough to prevent docking of the spike protein to the ACE-2 receptor and thus also inhibit the infection process. To prove that this process also works in practice, further research is needed.

Further studies are also needed to determine how long the inhibitory effect of 5-caffeoylquinic acid would last. “As chemists, we can’t answer the practical question of whether drinking coffee could really serve as a preventative measure to protect against infection. But we can say it’s plausible,” Kuhnert said. . “A lot of people drink coffee, and that it has many other positive effects, it’s well established,” says the chemist. Regular coffee drinkers suffer from type II diabetes less frequently, for example, he points out.

For their studies on the effect of 5-caffeoylquinic acid on the spike protein and the ACE-2 receptor, the team led by Nikolai Kuhnert had to develop a new measurement technique: differential scanning fluorimetry or nano- DFS. The team recently published a detailed description of this method in the journal Food and function.

In a next step, the results on the interaction between coffee and the coronavirus will now be communicated to a wider research community. “Epidemiological studies could determine whether regular coffee drinkers are more often infected with corona or not,” says Nikolai Kuhnert. Context and implications for the long COVID could also be highlighted here.

More information:
Dorothea Schmidt et al, Investigating the Interaction Between Dietary Polyphenols, SARS CoV-2 Spike Protein and ACE-2 Receptor, Food and function (2022). DOI: 10.1039/D2FO00394E

Provided by Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

Quote: Could coffee offer protection against COVID-19? (2022, November 3) retrieved November 4, 2022 from

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