UNAIR researcher: fight Hepatitis C with Meniran

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Infection caused by hepatitis C virus is still a big concern in the world. In Indonesia, there are around 2.5 million people affected by hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus can cause long-term infections increasing the chances of cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death.

The hepatitis C virus is an RNA virus that can be transmitted through blood transfusions and sexual relations. In the human body, the virus will then infect liver cells and multiply.

“Because of limited access and expensive prices, there are still many patients who have not been able to get therapy. Furthermore, resistance factors and drug side effects complicate the treatment of this infection, “said Tutiek Sri Wahyuni S.Si., M.Si., Apt., Lecturer of Pharmacognition and Phytochemistry Department at Faculty of Pharmacy UNAIR.

According to Wahyuni, it is necessary to develop therapies to deal with hepatitis C virus infection. New therapies developed must be affordable, and safe for the community. One alternative to use is medicinal plants.

Medicinal plants investigated as treatment of hepatitis C infection are meniran (Phyllanthus Niruri). It is a plant that grows in many areas in Indonesia and is well known by the public. This plant is believed to increase body immunity.

“Meniran shows strong activity against hepatitis C virus infection. This herbaceous plant extract inhibits the entry of virus into hepatocyte cells by 70%, “Wahyuni explained.

After further testing, meniran extract can also reduce viral proliferation through inhibition of the NS3 virus protein. This protein plays a role in the process of virus replication. Meniran also works well together with simeprevir, an anti-HCV drug on the market.

“After being analyzed with a computer program, Phyllantin and Hypophyllantin compounds in meniran have bonds with receptors that play a role in the entry of viruses,” Wahyuni explained.

“This activity can prevent the virus from entering the liver cells, but no toxic effects were reported from this plant,” she continued.

The results of this study enable the development of meniran plants, both for prevention and to help cure hepatitis C virus infection. For this reason, an anti-hepatitis C activity test was conducted on hepatitis C cell culture in the NPMRD (Natural Product Medicine Research Development) laboratory, Institute of Tropical Disease, UNAIR.

Meniran plants were harvested from the Lembang area, West Java, then dried and extracted. Next, activity tests were carried out with several concentration and mode of action tests. Furthermore, a combination test was also conducted to determine its synergistic effect with Simeprevir and docking analysis on the Molegro virtual docking software.

“From the docking analysis, it can be seen that phyllanthin and hypophhyllanthin have strong interactions with the 4GAG protein receptor, which is involved in the entry step of the hepatitis C virus life cycle,” Wahyuni said.

“These results indicate that meniran (Phyllanthus Niruri ) is a potential candidate to be developed as an alternative and complementary drug in hepatitis C virus infection,” she concluded. (*)

Author: Sukma Cindra Pratiwi

 Editor : Khefti Al Mawalia



Wahyuni, Tutik Sri, et al. 2019. “Anti-Viral Activity of Phyllanthus Niruri against Hepatitis C Virus.” Malaysian Applied Biology, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 105–11.

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