Pune researchers find synthetic route to TB and chikungunya inhibiting flavonoids

Scientists from the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), have come up with the first synthetic route for producing flavonoid molecules related to the treatment of tuberculosis and chikungunya. 

Flavonoid molecules, like rugosaflavonoids, podocarflavone, and isoflavone found to inhibit tuberculosis and chikungunya, have traditionally been isolated from plants. 
Since flavonoids boost up immunity, a flavonoid-rich diet is recommended to boost the immune system.  
Preliminary indications show these can also be effectively used in probable treatment of Covid-19.
Flavonoids are mostly present in tomato, onion, lettuce, grape, apple, strawberry, peach, and other vegetables. A diet rich in flavonoids helps protect from diseases related to heart, liver, kidney, brain, and other infectious diseases
This is for the first time that scientists have evolved the route to synthesise the molecules in the lab, paving the path for ensuring their availability at all seasons without overexploiting the medicinal plants that contain them.
A recent work published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, ‘ACS Omega’, said Dr Pratibha Srivastava and her team from ARI have developed the first total synthesis of flavonoids such as rugosaflavonoids, podocarflavone and isoflavone. 
'Rugosaflavonoid A' is reported from a Chinese medicinal plant Rosa rugosa ewhile 'Podocarflavone A' is isolated from the plant Podocarpus macrophyllus.
“Most ayurvedic products are rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are mostly present in tomato, onion, lettuce, grape, apple, strawberry, peach, and other vegetables. A diet rich in flavonoids protects us from diseases related to heart, liver, kidney, brain, and other infectious diseases,” explains Dr Srivastava.
“Right now, the world is facing a traumatic situation due to Covid-19. Since flavonoids boost-up immunity, a flavonoid-rich diet is recommended,” she added.
Flavonoids are normally isolated from plants. However, inconsistency in natural products can occur in different seasons, places, and species. Along with these hurdles, over-exploitation of medicinal plants puts an extra burden on the environment.
Development of flavonoids through synthetic protocols in the laboratory by simple and cost-effective methods will help overcome these problems. The synthetic natural products also possess the structure and medicinal properties similar to the natural products.
The chemical structure of flavonoids is similar to the female hormone 17-beta-estradiol (estrogen). Therefore, flavonoids can ease the life of women who face problems in the premenopausal stage.
“While synthesising rugosaflavonoids, my team has obtained dihydro rugosa flavonoids, which are found to be more potent in inhibiting highly infectious diseases like chikungunya and tuberculosis. Computational analysis of these molecules to inhibit Covid-19 by targeting spike protein, proteases and RdRp is also obtained, and the results are exciting,” says an exuberant Dr Srivastava.
Dr Srivastava also expressed confidence in the compounds synthesised by her Ph.D. student Ninad Puranik, for problems associated with women during the perimenopausal phase.
“In synthetic chemistry, the analogs of natural products can be prepared by the same route. At times the analogs show better medicinal properties than the natural products,” said Dr Srivastava.