An alkaloid antibiotic and antifungal.

Phase of research

Potential treatment - pre-clinical evidence

How it helps


Drug status

Used to treat other disease

Supporting references
Contradictory references
AI-suggested references
Clinical trials

General information

Berberine is a plant-derived alkaloid. It was suggested to be active against the late stages of SARS-CoV-2 life cycle (Varghese et al., 2021).

Berberine on DurgBank
Berberine on PubChem
Berberine on Wikipedia


Umbellatine; Berbericine


Structure image - Berberine


Supporting references

Link Tested on Impact factor Notes Publication date
In silico investigation of phytoconstituents from Indian medicinal herb ‘Tinospora cordifolia (giloy)’ against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by molecular dynamics approach
3CLpro Small molecule In silico
in silico 3.31

Predicted to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 3C-like protease.

Berberine and Obatoclax Inhibit SARS-Cov-2 Replication in Primary Human Nasal Epithelial Cells In Vitro
Small molecule In vitro
Vero E6 cells; human primary nasal epithelial cells; SARS-CoV-2 isolates BetaCoV/Munich/BavPat1/2020 and SARS-CoV-2/human/NLD/Nijmegen1/2020 3.82

The compound inhibited SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells in a dose-dependent manner with an EC50 of 9.1 μM and a SI of >16 for BavPat1 isolate. For Nijmegen1 isolate, it inhibited infection with an EC50 of 23.2 μM or 43.3 μM when assessed via supernatant or intracellular viral RNA levels, respectively. A plaque assay resulted in an EC50 of 2.1 μM in the same isolate. The ratio of viral RNA copy number to infectious viral particles number increased in a dose-dependent manner. These observations were hypothesized to result from the compound’s activity in late stages of viral life cycle, after viral genome replication and viral particle secretion. In the nasal epithelial cell model, berberine was effective in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 (BavPat1) infection with an EC50 of 10.7 μM and an SI of 8.1.

A small molecule compound berberine as an orally active therapeutic candidate against COVID‐19 and SARS: A computational and mechanistic study
ACE2 TMPRSS2 Small molecule In vitro In silico
in silico; Calu‐3 cells 4.97

Computationally predicted to possess multiple properties of potential benefit for COVID-19 treatment. A berberine formulation (“NIT-X”) was observed to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication and suppress ACE2, TMPRSS2, and pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression in Calu-3 cells.


AI-suggested references

Link Publication date
Natural Agents Modulating ACE-2: A Review of Compounds with Potential against SARS-CoV-2 Infections.
Computational Analysis Illustrates the Mechanism of Qingfei Paidu Decoction in Blocking the Transition of COVID-19 Patients from Mild to Severe Stage
Nanoparticles of ZnO/Berberine complex contract COVID-19 and respiratory co-bacterial infection in addition to elimination of hydroxychloroquine toxicity.
Recognition of Natural Products as Potential Inhibitors of COVID-19 Main Protease (Mpro): In-Silico Evidences
Antiviral activity of berberine
In silico investigation of phytoconstituents from Indian medicinal herb 'Tinospora cordifolia (giloy)' against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by molecular dynamics approach.
Screening of phytochemical compounds of Tinospora cordifolia for their inhibitory activity on SARS-CoV-2: an in silico study
Pathomechanisms, therapeutic targets and potent inhibitors of some beta-coronaviruses from bench-to-bedside.
Research on the mechanism of berberine in the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia pulmonary fibrosis using network pharmacology and molecular docking
Structure-based drug designing for potential antiviral activity of selected natural products from Ayurveda against SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and its cellular receptor
Ethnomedicines of Indian origin for combating COVID-19 infection by hampering the viral replication: using structure-based drug discovery approach
Cordifolioside: potent inhibitor against Mpro of SARS-CoV-2 and immunomodulatory through human TGF-beta and TNF-alpha
Atovaquone and Berberine Chloride Reduce SARS-CoV-2 Replication In Vitro.
In vitro evaluation of antiviral activity of single and combined repurposable drugs against SARS-CoV-2

Clinical trials

ID Title Status Phase Start date Completion date
NCT04479202 The Effect of Berberine on Intestinal Function and Inflammatory Mediators in Severe Patients With Covid-19 Completed Phase 4 Feb/08/2020 Apr/23/2020
  • Alternative id - Berberine treats COVID-19|XJ2020005101
  • Interventions - Drug: Berberine|Drug: Montmorrillonite
  • Study type - Interventional
  • Study results - No Results Available
  • Locations - Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • Study designs - Allocation: Randomized|Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment|Masking: Double (Participant, Outcomes Assessor)|Primary Purpose: Treatment
  • Enrollment - 76
  • Age - 18 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
  • Outcome measures - Changes in diarrhea frequency and Bristol Stool Scale|IL-6 (ng/ml)|IL-10(ng/ml)|IL-1β (ng/ml)|TNF-α (pg/ml)|leukocyte count (10^9/l)|c reactive protein (mg/l)|procalcitonin (ng/ml)