Substance in brown coal may aid in combating viruses

Scientists have identified biologically active molecular components of humic substances extracted from coal, and discovered substances with antiviral activity against the tick-borne encephalitis virus. The study was published in the journal 'Scientific Reports'. Natural multicomponent mixtures, such as humic substances found in soil, peat, and coal are a significant source of biologically active compounds. Understanding their composition and extracting active components can be a great help in creating new drugs. However, finding a specific compound in these environments is a highly challenging task that requires advanced methods capable of differentiating and separating one substance from another. The study revealed that humic substances inhibit the reproduction of a dangerous human pathogen, tick-borne encephalitis virus. The authors relied on high-resolution mass spectrometry to study the composition of humic samples and chemoinformatics to analyse their findings.