Academic Editor: Hongwei Yao
The aim of this review is to highlight the beneficial attributes of flavonoids, a diverse family of widely-distributed polyphenolic phytochemicals that have beneficial cell and tissue protective properties. Phytochemicals are widely distributed in plants, herbs and shrubs used in traditional complimentary medical formulations for centuries. The bioactive components that convey beneficial medicinal effects in these complex herbal preparations are now being identified using network pharmacology and molecular docking procedures that identify their molecular targets. Flavonoids have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties that have inspired the development of potent multifunctional derivatised flavonoids of improved efficacy. The antiviral properties of flavonoids and the emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has resulted in a resurgence of interest in phytochemicals in the search for efficacious compounds that can prevent viral infection or replication, with many promising plant compounds identified. Promising semi-synthetic flavonoid derivatives have also been developed that inhibit multiple pathological neurodegenerative processes; these offer considerable promise in the treatment of diseases of cognitive decline. Clinical trials are currently being undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of dietary supplements rich in flavonoids for the treatment of virally-mediated diseases. Such trials are expected to identify flavonoids with cell and tissue protective properties that can be harnessed in biomedical applications that may serve as supportive adjunctive procedures to conventional anti-viral drug therapies against diseases such as COVID-19.
Graphical Abstract. Flavones and Chalcones have anti-viral potential.