Shuang–Huang–Lian injectable powder (SHL)—a classical purified herbal preparation extracted from Scutellaria baicalensis, Lonicera japonica, and Forsythia suspense—has been used against human adenovirus III (HAdV3) for many years. The combination herb and its major bioactive compounds, including chlorogenic acid,
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Shuang–Huang–Lian injectable powder (SHL)—a classical purified herbal preparation extracted from Scutellaria baicalensis
, Lonicera japonica
, and Forsythia suspense
—has been used against human adenovirus III (HAdV3
) for many years. The combination herb and its major bioactive compounds, including chlorogenic acid, baicalin, and forsythia glycosides A, are effective inhibitors of the virus. However, no comprehensive studies are available on the antiviral effects of SHL against HAdV3
. Moreover, it remains unclear whether the mixture of chlorogenic acid, baicalin, and forsythia glycosides A (CBF) has enhanced antiviral activity compared with SHL. Therefore, a comparative study was performed to investigate the combination which is promising for further antiviral drug development. To evaluate their antivirus activity in parallel, the combination ratio and dose of CBF were controlled and consistent with SHL. First, the fingerprint and the ratio of CBF in SHL were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. Then, a plaque reduction assay, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to explore its therapeutic effects on viral infection and replication, respectively. The results showed that SHL and CBF inhibited dose- and time-dependently HAdV3
-induced plaque formation in A549 and HEp-2 cells. SHL was more effective than CBF when supplemented prior to and after viral inoculation. SHL prevented viral attachment, internalization, and replication at high concentration and decreased viral levels within and out of cells at non-toxic concentrations in both cell types. Moreover, the expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1ß, and IL-6 was lower and the expression of interferon (IFN)-γ was higher in both cell types treated with SHL than with CBF. In conclusion, SHL is much more effective and slightly less toxic than CBF.