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Pharmacognosy Res. 2017 Dec;9(Suppl 1):S15-S22. doi: 10.4103/pr.pr_30_17.

Curcumin and Natural Derivatives Inhibit Ebola Viral Proteins: An In silico Approach.

Author information

Department of Biotechnology, Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.



Ebola viral disease is a severe and mostly fatal disease in humans caused by Ebola virus. This virus belongs to family Filoviridae and is a single-stranded negative-sense virus. There is no single treatment for this disease which puts forth the need to identify new therapy to control and treat this fatal condition. Curcumin, one of the bioactives of turmeric, has proven antiviral property.


The current study evaluates the inhibitory activity of curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and tetrahydrocurcumin against Zaire Ebola viral proteins (VPs).

Materials and Methods:

Molecular simulation of the Ebola VPs followed by docking studies with ligands comprising curcumin and related compounds was performed.


The highest binding activity for VP40 is -6.3 kcal/mol, VP35 is -8.3 kcal/mol, VP30 is -8.0 kcal/mol, VP24 is -7.7 kcal/mol, glycoprotein is -7.1 kcal/mol, and nucleoprotein is 6.8 kcal/mol.


Bisdemethoxycurcumin shows better binding affinity than curcumin for most VPs. Metabolite tetrahydrocurcumin also shows binding affinity comparable to curcumin. These results indicate that curcumin, curcuminoids, and metabolite tetrahydrocurcumin can be potential lead compounds for developing a new therapy for Ebola viral disease.


Curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and demethoxycurcumin are active constituents of turmeric. Tetrahydrocurcumin is the major metabolite of curcumin formed in the body after consumption and absorption of curcuminoidsCurcuminoids have proven antiviral activityBisdemethoxycurcumin showed maximum inhibition of Ebola viral proteins (VPs) among the curcuminoids in the docking procedure with a docking score as high as -8.3 kcal/molTetrahydrocurcumin showed inhibitory activity against Ebola VPs close to that of curcumin's inhibitory action. Abbreviations Used: EBOV: Ebola virus, GP: Glycoprotein, NP: Nucleoprotein, NPT: Isothermal-isobaric Ensemble, amount of substance (N), pressure (P) and temperature (T) conserved, NVE: Canonical ensemble, amount of substance (N), volume (V) and temperature (T) conserved, VP: Viral protein.


Bisdemethoxycurcumin; Ebola virus; curcumin; demethoxycurcumin; docking; tetrahydrocurcumin

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