A cup of tea is sitting on a saucer in front of a fireplace.

The Power of Tea Against COVID-19 Variants

As COVID-19 continues to mutate into new variants like Omicron and its subtypes, researchers are looking for ways to combat these highly contagious strains. A promising new study shows that compounds found in green tea, black tea, and matcha may help neutralize Omicron and prevent infection.

The Japanese research study titled “Effects of tea, catechins and catechin derivatives on Omicron subvariants of SARS-CoV-2” was published in the journal Scientific Reports – part of the Nature Research group – on the 3rd October 2023. The study investigates the effectiveness of tea catechins and saliva from tea consumers in inactivating the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Catechins Compounds in Tea

The Omicron variants have many changes in their spike proteins that allow them to spread more easily from person to person. But compounds called catechins, especially EGCG and TFDG, can bind to Omicron’s spike proteins and make it harder for the virus to infect cells.

Effect of Tea on Covid 19 Variants

When researchers tested how well EGCG and TFDG worked against three different Omicron subvariants – BA.1, BA.2.75, and XE – they found some interesting differences. Both compounds strongly suppressed BA.1 and XE, but weren’t as effective against BA.2.75. This is likely because small genetic changes in each subvariant’s spike proteins changed how well the catechins could bind to them.

Further lab tests showed that simply adding green tea or black tea could significantly reduce how well BA.1 virus could infect cells. The catechins literally made the virus particles less infectious.

While more research is needed, this study sheds light on how natural compounds in teas we drink daily may help fight against current and future COVID variants. So brew yourself a cup of green, matcha or black tea – it just might be a simple way to get compounds that could stop this ever-changing virus in its tracks.

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A self-proclaimed tea explorer, Jess began her journey with tea as a hobby and it quickly blossomed into an enchanting love affair. From the rich, historical tapestries of traditional Chinese blends, to the modern twists of herbal infusions, there’s no leaf unturned.

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