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PeerJ ; 9: e12520, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559471


OBJECTIVES: The main focus of this study was to investigate the effect of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the mental health condition and sleep quality of college students in Macao. In addition, the students' behaviours during the pandemic, such as drinking alcohol, taking sleeping pills, and seeking psychological counselling were analyzed. METHOD: A cross-sectional survey of mental health and sleep quality status, as well as the possible behavioral risk factors, was conducted among the college students of Macao in August, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. An online self-report questionnaire survey method was applied to assess the general demographics and related lifestyle behaviors of students. The general mental health condition and sleep quality were evaluated through the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaires, respectively. The main statistical methods included the Chi-square test, Bonferroni correction, and Pearson correlation. Data analysis was performed using SPSS Version 24.0. RESULTS: A total of 980 students were investigated in the study, of which 977 completed the survey. During the COVID-19 pandemic period, overall college students in Macao were psychologically well adjusted and reported good quality of sleep. However, female students were in poorer psychological condition than males (P < 0.05). Moreover, the students over 20 years of age had poorer sleep quality than students aged less than or equal to 20 (P < 0.05). The significant differences were found among the students in different study majors for the mental health status and sleep quality (both P < 0.05), which were associated with certain behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, taking sleeping pills, and seeking for help in psychological counselling during the COVID-19 pandemic period. CONCLUSIONS: Poor mental health status could be either the consequence or cause of sleep disturbance, which might further affected physical health. Therefore, regular assessment of mental health condition and sleep quality of college students is particularly necessary during public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and appropriate intervention should be provided to the students.

Pharmacol Res ; 172: 105820, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531713


Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which enter the host cells through the interaction between its receptor binding domain (RBD) of spike glycoprotein with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor on the plasma membrane of host cell. Neutralizing antibodies and peptide binders of RBD can block viral infection, however, the concern of accessibility and affordability of viral infection inhibitors has been raised. Here, we report the identification of natural compounds as potential SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors using the molecular docking-based virtual screening coupled with bilayer interferometry (BLI). From a library of 1871 natural compounds, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), 20(R)-ginsenoside Rg3 (RRg3), 20(S)-ginsenoside Rg3 (SRg3), isobavachalcone (Ibvc), isochlorogenic A (IscA) and bakuchiol (Bkc) effectively inhibited pseudovirus entry at concentrations up to 100 µM. Among these compounds, four compounds, EGCG, Ibvc, salvianolic acid A (SalA), and isoliensinine (Isl), were effective in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2-induced cytopathic effect and plaque formation in Vero E6 cells. The EGCG was further validated with no observable animal toxicity and certain antiviral effect against SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus mutants (D614G, N501Y, N439K & Y453F). Interestingly, EGCG, Bkc and Ibvc bind to ACE2 receptor in BLI assay, suggesting a dual binding to RBD and ACE2. Current findings shed some insight into identifications and validations of SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitors from natural compounds.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Biological Products/chemistry , COVID-19/drug therapy , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Binding, Competitive , Biological Products/pharmacology , Catechin/analogs & derivatives , Catechin/pharmacology , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Membrane/ultrastructure , Chalcones/pharmacology , Chlorogenic Acid/analogs & derivatives , Chlorogenic Acid/pharmacology , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Ginsenosides/pharmacology , Humans , Interferometry , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Phenols/pharmacology , Protein Binding
Front Pharmacol ; 12: 634176, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1150704


The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 virus caused more than 80,155,187 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, which has posed a serious threat to global public health and the economy. The development of vaccines and discovery of novel drugs for COVID-19 are urgently needed. Although the FDA-approved SARS-CoV-2 vaccines has been launched in many countries recently, the strength of safety, stringent storage condition and the possibly short-term immunized efficacy remain as the major challenges in the popularity and recognition of using vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. With the spike-receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 being responsible for binding to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor (hACE2), ACE2 is identified as the receptor for the entry and viral infection of SARS-CoV-2. In this study, molecular docking and biolayer interferometry (BLI) binding assay were adopted to determine the direct molecular interactions between natural small-molecule, 1,2,3,4,6-Pentagalloyl glucose (PGG) and the spike-RBD of the SARS-CoV-2. Our results showed that PGG preferentially binds to a pocket that contains residues Glu 340 to Lys 356 of spike-RBD with a relatively low binding energy of -8 kcal/mol. BLI assay further confirmed that PGG exhibits a relatively strong binding affinity to SARS-CoV-2-RBD protein in comparison to hACE2. In addition, both ELISA and immunocytochemistry assay proved that PGG blocks SARS-CoV-2-RBD binding to hACE2 dose dependently in cellular level. Notably, PGG was confirmed to abolish the infectious property of RBD-pseudotyped lentivirus in hACE2 overexpressing HEK293 cells, which mimicked the entry of wild type SARS-CoV-2 virus in human host cells. Finally, maximal tolerated dose (MTD) studies revealed that up to 200 mg/kg/day of PGG was confirmed orally safe in mice. Our findings suggest that PGG may be a safe and potential antiviral agent against the COVID-19 by blockade the fusion of SARS-CoV-2 spike-RBD to hACE2 receptors. Therefore, PGG may be considered as a safe and natural antiviral agent for its possible preventive application in daily anti-virus hygienic products such as a disinfectant spray or face mask.