Coffee COVID Defense: The study, titled “Coffee inhibits SARS-CoV-2 entry by targeting viral spike-ACE2 interactions, TMPRSS2, and cathepsin L,” explores the potential inhibitory effects of coffee against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As various COVID-19 variants continue to emerge, and vaccine effectiveness may decrease over time, the study investigates whether coffee, a widely consumed beverage rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, could play a role in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The researchers conducted experiments using a pseudovirus assay to evaluate the impact of coffee on viral entry in human embryonic kidney cells expressing angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Ground coffee exhibited a dose-dependent reduction in viral entry, and several commercial instant coffee products consistently inhibited the entry of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and its variants (Alpha, Delta, and Omicron).
The study delved into the effects of coffee additives, such as cream, low fat, milk, and sugar, finding that they did not diminish the inhibitory effects of coffee. Ground and instant coffee were also observed to interrupt spike-ACE2 interactions and inhibit the activity of transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and cathepsin L (CTSL).
Further analyses revealed that compounds in coffee, including chlorogenic acid (CGA), iso-chlorogenic acids (isoCGAs), and caffeine, played a role in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 entry. IsoCGA-A, in particular, emerged as the most potent compound. Docking analyses based on binding energy scores identified isoCGAs as top candidates, followed by CGA and caffeine.
A human trial involving 64 healthy Taiwanese individuals found that sera from regular and decaffeinated coffee consumers inhibited SARS-CoV-2, including the Omicron variant.
In conclusion, the study suggests that coffee intake could be a potential dietary strategy to limit SARS-CoV-2 infection by targeting key interactions and proteases involved in the viral entry process. The findings provide insights into the potential role of coffee in the post-COVID era as a measure to reduce the risk of infection.