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Anti-herpes virus activities of bioactive fraction and isolated pure constituent of Mallotus peltatus: an ethnomedicine from Andaman Islands

Paromita Bag1, Debprasad Chattopadhyay1*, Hemanta Mukherjee1, Durbadal Ojha1, Nilanjan Mandal1, Mamta Chawla Sarkar2, Tapan Chatterjee3, Gobardhan Das4 and Sekhar Chakraborti12

Author Affiliations

1 ICMR Virus Unit, ID & BG Hospital, General Block 4, First floor, 57 Dr Suresh Chandra Banerjee Road, Beliaghata, Kolkata, 700010, India

2 Division of Virology, National Institute of Cholera & Enteric Diseases, Kolkata, India

3 Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India

4 Immunology Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:98  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-98

Published: 24 May 2012



Viral infections, particularly the infections caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV), represent one of the most serious public health concerns globally because of their devastating impact. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antiviral potential of methanolic crude extract of an ethnomedicine Mallotus peltatus, its active fraction and pure compound, against HSV-1 F and HSV-2 G.


The cytotoxicity (CC50, the concentration of 50% cellular toxicity), antiviral effective concentration (EC50, the concentration required to achieve 50% protection against virus-induced cytopathic effect), plaque reduction and the selectivity index (SI, the ratio of CC50 and EC50) was determined. Results showed that the crude methanolic extract of M. peltatus possessed weak anti-HSV activity. In contrast, the active fraction A and isolated ursolic acid from fraction A exhibited potent antiherpesvirus activity against both HSV-1 (EC50 = 7.8 and 5.5 μg/ml; SI = 22.3 and 20) and HSV-2 (EC50 = 8.2 and 5.8 μg/ml, and SI = 21.2 and 18.97). The fraction A and isolated ursolic acid (10 μg/ml) inhibited plaque formation of HSV-1 and HSV-2 at more than 80% levels, with a dose dependent antiviral activity, compared to acyclovir. The time response study revealed that the anti-HSV activity of fraction A and isolated ursolic acid is highest at 2–5 h post-infection. Moreover, the time kinetics study by indirect immunofluorescence assay showed a characteristic pattern of small foci of single fluorescent cells in fraction A- treated virus infected cells at 2 h and 4 h post-infection, suggesting drug inhibited viral dissemination. Further, the PCR study with infected cell cultures treated with fraction A and isolated ursolic acid at various time intervals, failed to show amplification at 48–72 h, like acyclovir treated HSV-infected cells. Moreover, fraction A or isolated ursolic acid showed no interaction in combination with acyclovir.


This study revealed that bioactive fraction A and isolated ursolic acid of M. peltatus has good anti-HSV activity, probably by inhibiting the early stage of multiplication (post-infection of 0–5 h), with SI value of 20, suggesting its potential use as anti-HSV agents.

Mallotus peltatus; Ethnomedicine; Antiviral activity; Herpes simplex virus; Ursolic acid