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1.
Front Immunol ; 14: 1158905, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20239264

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces B and T cell responses, contributing to virus neutralization. In a cohort of 2,911 young adults, we identified 65 individuals who had an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and characterized their humoral and T cell responses to the Spike (S), Nucleocapsid (N) and Membrane (M) proteins. We found that previous infection induced CD4 T cells that vigorously responded to pools of peptides derived from the S and N proteins. By using statistical and machine learning models, we observed that the T cell response highly correlated with a compound titer of antibodies against the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD), S and N. However, while serum antibodies decayed over time, the cellular phenotype of these individuals remained stable over four months. Our computational analysis demonstrates that in young adults, asymptomatic and paucisymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections can induce robust and long-lasting CD4 T cell responses that exhibit slower decays than antibody titers. These observations imply that next-generation COVID-19 vaccines should be designed to induce stronger cellular responses to sustain the generation of potent neutralizing antibodies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Machine Learning
2.
Front Immunol ; 14: 1130539, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20241121

ABSTRACT

The highly transmissible Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in late 2021. Initial Omicron waves were primarily made up of sub-lineages BA.1 and/or BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5 subsequently became dominant in mid-2022, and several descendants of these sub-lineages have since emerged. Omicron infections have generally caused less severe disease on average than those caused by earlier variants of concern in healthy adult populations, at least, in part, due to increased population immunity. Nevertheless, healthcare systems in many countries, particularly those with low population immunity, have been overwhelmed by unprecedented surges in disease prevalence during Omicron waves. Pediatric admissions were also higher during Omicron waves compared with waves of previous variants of concern. All Omicron sub-lineages exhibit partial escape from wild-type (Wuhan-Hu 1) spike-based vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies, with sub-lineages with more enhanced immuno-evasive properties emerging over time. Evaluating vaccine effectiveness (VE) against Omicron sub-lineages has become challenging against a complex background of varying vaccine coverage, vaccine platforms, prior infection rates, and hybrid immunity. Original messenger RNA vaccine booster doses substantially improved VE against BA.1 or BA.2 symptomatic disease. However, protection against symptomatic disease waned, with reductions detected from 2 months after booster administration. While original vaccine-elicited CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell responses cross-recognize Omicron sub-lineages, thereby retaining protection against severe outcomes, variant-adapted vaccines are required to expand the breadth of B-cell responses and improve durability of protection. Variant-adapted vaccines were rolled out in late 2022 to increase overall protection against symptomatic and severe infections caused by Omicron sub-lineages and antigenically aligned variants with enhanced immune escape mechanisms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Adult , Humans , Child , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccine Efficacy , Cost of Illness
3.
J Clin Virol ; 165: 105499, 2023 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2328193

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is the causative agent of the acute respiratory disease COVID-19. In addition to the full length positive-sensed, single-stranded genomic RNA (gRNA), viral subgenomic RNAs (sgRNAs) that are required for expression of the 3' region of the genome are synthesized in virus-infected cells. However, whether these sgRNA-species might be used as a measure of active virus replication and to predict infectivity is still under debate. The commonly used methods to monitor and quantitate SARS-CoV-2 infections are based on RT-qPCR analysis and the detection of gRNA. The infectivity of a sample obtained from nasopharyngeal or throat swabs is associated with the viral load and inversely correlates with Ct-values, however, a cut-off value predicting the infectivity highly depends on the performance of the assay. Furthermore, gRNA derived Ct-values result from nucleic acid detection and do not necessarily correspond to active replicating virus. We established a multiplex RT-qPCR assay on the cobas 6800 omni utility channel concomitantly detecting SARS-CoV-2 gRNAOrf1a/b, sgRNAE,7a,N, and human RNaseP-mRNA used as human input control. We compared the target specific Ct-values with the viral culture frequency and performed ROC curve analysis to determine the assay sensitivity and specificity. We found no advantage in the prediction of viral culture when using sgRNA detection compared to gRNA only, since Ct-values for gRNA and sgRNA were highly correlated and gRNA offered a slightly more reliable predictive value. Single Ct-values alone only provide a very limited prediction for the presence of replication competent virus. Hence, careful consideration of the medical history including symptom onset has to be considered for risk stratification.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Viral , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , Subgenomic RNA , Genomics , Virus Replication
4.
J Clin Med ; 12(9)2023 Apr 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2314979

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Genesis and the prognostic value of olfactory dysfunction (OD) in COVID-19 remain partially described. The objective of our study was to characterize OD during SARS-CoV-2 infection and to examine whether testing of OD may be a useful tool in clinical practice in order to early identify patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: Olfactory function assessment was objectively carried out using the u-Smell-it® test. In a cross-sectional study part, we evaluated this test in a control cohort of SARS-CoV-2 negative tested patients, who attended the University Hospital Frankfurt between May 2021 and March 2022. In a second longitudinal study part, sensitivity and specificity of OD was evaluated as a diagnostic marker of a SARS-CoV-2 infection in Frankfurt am Main, Germany in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients and their close contacts. RESULTS: Among 494 SARS-CoV-2 negative tested patients, OD was detected in 45.7% and was found to be significantly associated with the male gender (p < 0.001), higher age (p < 0.001), cardiovascular and pulmonary comorbidities (p < 0.001; p = 0.03). Among 90 COVID-19 positive patients, OD was found in 65.6% and was significantly associated with male gender and positive smoking status (p = 0.04 each). Prevalence and severity of OD were significantly increased in infections with the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) compared to those with the Omicron variant (BA.1.1.529). Diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of OD for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection were 69% and 64%, respectively. CONCLUSION: OD is common in COVID-19 negative and positive tested patients with significantly different prevalence rates observed between different variants. Diagnostic accuracy of OD is not high enough to implement olfactory testing as a tool in diagnostic routine to early identify patients with a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

5.
Infection ; 2023 May 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2318877

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has highlighted the importance of viable infection surveillance and the relevant infrastructure. From a German perspective, an integral part of this infrastructure, genomic pathogen sequencing, was at best fragmentary and stretched to its limits due to the lack or inefficient use of equipment, human resources, data management and coordination. The experience in other countries has shown that the rate of sequenced positive samples and linkage of genomic and epidemiological data (person, place, time) represent important factors for a successful application of genomic pathogen surveillance. Planning, establishing and consistently supporting adequate structures for genomic pathogen surveillance will be crucial to identify and combat future pandemics as well as other challenges in infectious diseases such as multi-drug resistant bacteria and healthcare-associated infections. Therefore, the authors propose a multifaceted and coordinated process for the definition of procedural, legal and technical standards for comprehensive genomic pathogen surveillance in Germany, covering the areas of genomic sequencing, data collection and data linkage, as well as target pathogens. A comparative analysis of the structures established in Germany and in other countries is applied. This proposal aims to better tackle epi- and pandemics to come and take action from the "lessons learned" from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

6.
Pathogens ; 12(4)2023 Apr 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2301133

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance is important to adapt infection control measures and estimate the degree of underreporting. Blood donor samples can be used as a proxy for the healthy adult population. In a repeated cross-sectional study from April 2020 to April 2021, September 2021, and April/May 2022, 13 blood establishments collected 134,510 anonymised specimens from blood donors in 28 study regions across Germany. These were tested for antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and nucleocapsid, including neutralising capacity. Seroprevalence was adjusted for test performance and sampling and weighted for demographic differences between the sample and the general population. Seroprevalence estimates were compared to notified COVID-19 cases. The overall adjusted SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence remained below 2% until December 2020 and increased to 18.1% in April 2021, 89.4% in September 2021, and to 100% in April/May 2022. Neutralising capacity was found in 74% of all positive specimens until April 2021 and in 98% in April/May 2022. Our serosurveillance allowed for repeated estimations of underreporting from the early stage of the pandemic onwards. Underreporting ranged between factors 5.1 and 1.1 in the first two waves of the pandemic and remained well below 2 afterwards, indicating an adequate test strategy and notification system in Germany.

7.
Mol Cell Proteomics ; 22(5): 100537, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2272028

ABSTRACT

The ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain that initiated the Covid-19 pandemic at the end of 2019 has rapidly mutated into multiple variants of concern with variable pathogenicity and increasing immune escape strategies. However, differences in host cellular antiviral responses upon infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants remain elusive. Leveraging whole-cell proteomics, we determined host signaling pathways that are differentially modulated upon infection with the clinical isolates of the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 B.1 and the variants of concern Delta and Omicron BA.1. Our findings illustrate alterations in the global host proteome landscape upon infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants and the resulting host immune responses. Additionally, viral proteome kinetics reveal declining levels of viral protein expression during Omicron BA.1 infection when compared to ancestral B.1 and Delta variants, consistent with its reduced replication rates. Moreover, molecular assays reveal deferral activation of specific host antiviral signaling upon Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 infections. Our study provides an overview of host proteome profile of multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants and brings forth a better understanding of the instigation of key immune signaling pathways causative for the differential pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Proteome , Pandemics , Antiviral Agents , Antibodies, Neutralizing
8.
Viruses ; 15(2)2023 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2272025

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic remains a global health threat and novel antiviral strategies are urgently needed. SARS-CoV-2 employs the cellular serine protease TMPRSS2 for entry into lung cells, and TMPRSS2 inhibitors are being developed for COVID-19 therapy. However, the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, which currently dominates the pandemic, prefers the endo/lysosomal cysteine protease cathepsin L over TMPRSS2 for cell entry, raising doubts as to whether TMPRSS2 inhibitors would be suitable for the treatment of patients infected with the Omicron variant. Nevertheless, the contribution of TMPRSS2 to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the infected host is largely unclear. In this study, we show that the loss of TMPRSS2 strongly reduced the replication of the Beta variant in the nose, trachea and lung of C57BL/6 mice, and protected the animals from weight loss and disease. The infection of mice with the Omicron variant did not cause disease, as expected, but again, TMPRSS2 was essential for efficient viral spread in the upper and lower respiratory tract. These results identify the key role of TMPRSS2 in SARS-CoV-2 Beta and Omicron infection, and highlight TMPRSS2 as an attractive target for antiviral intervention.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Humans , Mice , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Pandemics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics
9.
J Med Virol ; 95(3): e28686, 2023 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2252520

ABSTRACT

Recent findings in permanent cell lines suggested that SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 induces a stronger interferon response than Delta. Here, we show that BA.1 and BA.5 but not Delta induce an antiviral state in air-liquid interface cultures of primary human bronchial epithelial cells and primary human monocytes. Both Omicron subvariants caused the production of biologically active types I (α/ß) and III (λ) interferons and protected cells from super-infection with influenza A viruses. Notably, abortive Omicron infection of monocytes was sufficient to protect monocytes from influenza A virus infection. Interestingly, while influenza-like illnesses surged during the Delta wave in England, their spread rapidly declined upon the emergence of Omicron. Mechanistically, Omicron-induced interferon signaling was mediated via double-stranded RNA recognition by MDA5, as MDA5 knockout prevented it. The JAK/STAT inhibitor baricitinib inhibited the Omicron-mediated antiviral response, suggesting it is caused by MDA5-mediated interferon production, which activates interferon receptors that then trigger JAK/STAT signaling. In conclusion, our study (1) demonstrates that only Omicron but not Delta induces a substantial interferon response in physiologically relevant models, (2) shows that Omicron infection protects cells from influenza A virus super-infection, and (3) indicates that BA.1 and BA.5 induce comparable antiviral states.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype , Influenza A virus , Influenza, Human , Janus Kinase Inhibitors , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Interferons , Antiviral Agents
10.
Microorganisms ; 11(3)2023 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2257399

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is partly under control by vaccination. However, highly potent and safe antiviral drugs for SARS-CoV-2 are still needed to avoid development of severe COVID-19. We report the discovery of a small molecule, Z-Tyr-Ala-CHN2, which was identified in a cell-based antiviral screen. The molecule exerts sub-micromolar antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and human coronavirus 229E. Time-of-addition studies reveal that Z-Tyr-Ala-CHN2 acts at the early phase of the infection cycle, which is in line with the observation that the molecule inhibits cathepsin L. This results in antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in VeroE6, A549-hACE2, and HeLa-hACE2 cells, but not in Caco-2 cells or primary human nasal epithelial cells since the latter two cell types also permit entry via transmembrane protease serine subtype 2 (TMPRSS2). Given their cell-specific activity, cathepsin L inhibitors still need to prove their value in the clinic; nevertheless, the activity profile of Z-Tyr-Ala-CHN2 makes it an interesting tool compound for studying the biology of coronavirus entry and replication.

11.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz ; 66(4): 443-449, 2023 Apr.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2280092

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV­2 pandemic has shown a deficit of essential epidemiological infrastructure, especially with regard to genomic pathogen surveillance in Germany. In order to prepare for future pandemics, the authors consider it urgently necessary to remedy this existing deficit by establishing an efficient infrastructure for genomic pathogen surveillance. Such a network can build on structures, processes, and interactions that have already been initiated regionally and further optimize them. It will be able to respond to current and future challenges with a high degree of adaptability.The aim of this paper is to address the urgency and to outline proposed measures for establishing an efficient, adaptable, and responsive genomic pathogen surveillance network, taking into account external framework conditions and internal standards. The proposed measures are based on global and country-specific best practices and strategy papers. Specific next steps to achieve an integrated genomic pathogen surveillance include linking epidemiological data with pathogen genomic data; sharing and coordinating existing resources; making surveillance data available to relevant decision-makers, the public health service, and the scientific community; and engaging all stakeholders. The establishment of a genomic pathogen surveillance network is essential for the continuous, stable, active surveillance of the infection situation in Germany, both during pandemic phases and beyond.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Germany/epidemiology , Genomics
12.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 816, 2023 02 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2239935

ABSTRACT

Combining optimized spike (S) protein-encoding mRNA vaccines to target multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants could improve control of the COVID-19 pandemic. We compare monovalent and bivalent mRNA vaccines encoding B.1.351 (Beta) and/or B.1.617.2 (Delta) SARS-CoV-2 S-protein in a transgenic mouse and a Wistar rat model. The blended low-dose bivalent mRNA vaccine contains half the mRNA of each respective monovalent vaccine, but induces comparable neutralizing antibody titres, enrichment of lung-resident memory CD8+ T cells, antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ responses, and protects transgenic female mice from SARS-CoV-2 lethality. The bivalent mRNA vaccine significantly reduces viral replication in both Beta- and Delta-challenged mice. Sera from bivalent mRNA vaccine immunized female Wistar rats also contain neutralizing antibodies against the B.1.1.529 (Omicron BA.1 and BA.5) variants. These data suggest that low-dose and fit-for-purpose multivalent mRNA vaccines encoding distinct S-proteins are feasible approaches for extending the coverage of vaccines for emerging and co-circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Female , Mice , Rats , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Mice, Transgenic , Models, Animal , mRNA Vaccines/immunology , Rats, Wistar , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccines, Combined/immunology
13.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Jul 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2232365

ABSTRACT

Our study in 21 pediatric cancer patients demonstrates that three doses of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine (BioNTech/Pfizer) elicited both humoral and cellular immunity in most patients during chemotherapy. Immunity was stronger in children with solid tumors and during maintenance therapy compared to those with hematological malignancies or during intensive chemotherapy.

14.
Int J Infect Dis ; 128: 166-175, 2023 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2232009

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Regarding reactogenicity and immunogenicity, heterologous COVID-19 vaccination regimens are considered as an alternative to conventional immunization schemes. METHODS: Individuals receiving either heterologous (ChAdOx1-S [AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK]/BNT162b2 [Pfizer-BioNTech, Mainz, Germany]; n = 306) or homologous (messenger RNA [mRNA]-1273 [Moderna, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA]; n = 139) vaccination were asked to participate when receiving their second dose. Reactogenicity was assessed after 1 month, immunogenicity after 1, 3, and/or 6 months, including a third dose, through SARS-CoV-2 antispike immunoglobulin G, surrogate virus neutralization test, and a plaque reduction neutralization test against the Delta (B.1.167.2) and Omicron (B.1.1.529; BA.1) variants of concern. RESULTS: The overall reactogenicity was lower after heterologous vaccination. In both cohorts, SARS-CoV-2 antispike immunoglobulin G concentrations waned over time with the heterologous vaccination demonstrating higher neutralizing activity than homologous mRNA vaccination after 3 months to low neutralizing levels in the Delta plaque reduction neutralization test after 6 months. At this point, 3.2% of the heterologous and 11.4% of the homologous cohort yielded low neutralizing activity against Omicron. After a third dose of an mRNA vaccine, ≥99% of vaccinees demonstrated positive neutralizing activity against Delta. Depending on the vaccination scheme and against Omicron, 60% to 87.5% of vaccinees demonstrated positive neutralizing activity. CONCLUSION: ChAdOx1-S/BNT162b2 vaccination demonstrated an acceptable reactogenicity and immunogenicity profile. A third dose of an mRNA vaccine is necessary to maintain neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2. However, variants of concern-adapted versions of the vaccines would be desirable.


Subject(s)
BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19 Vaccines , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Immunization , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , RNA, Messenger , Immunoglobulin G , Antibodies, Viral , Antibodies, Neutralizing
15.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 23(3): 272-273, 2023 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2221519
16.
PNAS Nexus ; 1(2): pgac067, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2222700

ABSTRACT

The new variant of concern (VOC) of SARS-CoV-2, Omicron (B.1.1.529), is genetically very different from other VOCs. We compared Omicron with the preceding VOC Delta (B.1.617.2) and the wildtype (wt) strain (B.1) with respect to their interactions with the antiviral interferon (IFN-alpha/beta) response in infected cells. Our data indicate that IFN induction by Omicron is low and comparable to the wt, whereas Delta showed an increased IFN induction. However, Omicron exceeded both the wt and the Delta strain with respect to the ability to withstand the antiviral state imposed by IFN-alpha.

18.
Sci Immunol ; : eade9888, 2022 Nov 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2193420

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant and its sublineages show pronounced viral escape from neutralizing antibodies elicited by vaccination or prior SARS-CoV-2 variant infection owing to over 30 amino acid alterations within the spike (S) glycoprotein. Breakthrough infection of vaccinated individuals with Omicron sublineages BA.1 and BA.2 is associated with distinct patterns of cross-neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). In continuation of our previous work, we characterized the effect of Omicron BA.4/BA.5 S glycoprotein exposure on the neutralizing antibody response upon breakthrough infection in vaccinated individuals and upon variant-adapted booster vaccination in mice. We found that immune sera from triple mRNA-vaccinated individuals with subsequent breakthrough infection during the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 wave showed cross-neutralizing activity against previous Omicron variants BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4/BA.5 itself. Administration of a prototypic BA.4/BA.5-adapted mRNA booster vaccine to mice following SARS-CoV-2 wild-type strain-based primary immunization is associated with broader cross-neutralizing activity than a BA.1-adapted booster. While the Omicron BA-1-adapted mRNA vaccine in a bivalent format (wild-type + BA.1) broadens cross-neutralizing activity relative to the BA.1 monovalent booster, cross-neutralization of BA.2 and descendants is more effective in mice boosted with a bivalent wild-type + BA.4/BA.5 vaccine. In naïve mice primary immunization with the bivalent wild-type + Omicron BA.4/BA.5 vaccine induces strong cross-neutralizing activity against Omicron VOCs and previous variants. These findings suggest that when administered as boosters, mono- and bivalent Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted vaccines enhance neutralization breadth, and that the bivalent version also has the potential to confer protection to individuals with no pre-existing immunity against SARS-CoV-2.

19.
iScience ; 26(2): 105944, 2023 Feb 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2165435

ABSTRACT

Reliable, easy-to-handle phenotypic screening platforms are needed for the identification of anti-SARS-CoV-2 compounds. Here, we present caspase 3/7 activity as a readout for monitoring the replication of SARS-CoV-2 isolates from different variants, including a remdesivir-resistant strain, and of other coronaviruses in numerous cell culture models, independently of cytopathogenic effect formation. Compared to other models, the Caco-2 subline Caco-2-F03 displayed superior performance. It possesses a stable SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility phenotype and does not produce false-positive hits due to drug-induced phospholipidosis. A proof-of-concept screen of 1,796 kinase inhibitors identified known and novel antiviral drug candidates including inhibitors of phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), CDC like kinase 1 (CLK-1), and colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R). The activity of the PHGDH inhibitor NCT-503 was further increased in combination with the hexokinase II (HK2) inhibitor 2-deoxy-D-glucose, which is in clinical development for COVID-19. In conclusion, caspase 3/7 activity detection in SARS-CoV-2-infected Caco-2-F03 cells provides a simple phenotypic high-throughput screening platform for SARS-CoV-2 drug candidates that reduces false-positive hits.

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