Plant Science's Contribution to Fighting Viral Pandemics: COVID-19 as a Case Study


Plants historically have offered a myriad of possibilities to treat human diseases. The ability of plants to cure can be traced back to 6000 years. The enormous metabolic potential of plants has enabled the production of medicinal compounds that have served to cure or ameliorate symptoms of many diseases, many of which are still prevalent today. Today, plant biotechnology also benefits from the unique advantages of plants for the expression of proteins that can be used as therapeutics, such as vaccines.

Given the current pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the international scientific community has gathered together in an urgent search for solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak. So far, the plant-derived compound chloroquine phosphate, previously used against malaria, is being promoted for the treatment of COVID-19. Ongoing research supports plants as bio-factories for the production of eagerly-awaited SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. During this emergency scenario, we aim to gather all the relevant information in plant sciences to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we aim to create a “plant scientific hub” that builds on the enormous potential of plant science to contribute effectively to fighting present and future pandemics.

We welcome review articles, opinion pieces, and perspectives that address this mission. In addition, to promote the control of COVID-19, original research articles will be considered for publication. We encourage scientific contributions from both academia and industry. Manuscripts should address, but not be restricted to, the following topics:

• Natural plant products: Medicinal compounds in traditional herbal prescriptions and their antiviral activities. Cell cultures for the production of antivirals. Cultivation and extraction of bioactives from medicinal plants.