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1.
Virulence ; 13(1): 1031-1048, 2022 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900978

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant loss of human lives and a worldwide decline in quality of life. Treatment of COVID-19 patients is challenging, and specific treatments to reduce COVID-19 aggravation and mortality are still necessary. Here, we describe the discovery of a novel class of epiandrosterone steroidal compounds with cationic amphiphilic properties that present antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in the low micromolar range. Compounds were identified in screening campaigns using a cytopathic effect-based assay in Vero CCL81 cells, followed by hit compound validation and characterization. Compounds LNB167 and LNB169 were selected due to their ability to reduce the levels of infectious viral progeny and viral RNA levels in Vero CCL81, HEK293, and HuH7.5 cell lines. Mechanistic studies in Vero CCL81 cells indicated that LNB167 and LNB169 inhibited the initial phase of viral replication through mechanisms involving modulation of membrane lipids and cholesterol in host cells. Selection of viral variants resistant to steroidal compound treatment revealed single mutations on transmembrane, lipid membrane-interacting Spike and Envelope proteins. Finally, in vivo testing using the hACE2 transgenic mouse model indicated that SARS-CoV-2 infection could not be ameliorated by LNB167 treatment. We conclude that anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of steroidal compounds LNB167 and LNB169 are likely host-targeted, consistent with the properties of cationic amphiphilic compounds that modulate host cell lipid biology. Although effective in vitro, protective effects were cell-type specific and did not translate to protection in vivo, indicating that subversion of lipid membrane physiology is an important, yet complex mechanism involved in SARS-CoV-2 replication and pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Lipids , Mice , Pandemics , Quality of Life , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
2.
Eur Respir J ; 58(1)2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-999707

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Nitazoxanide is widely available and exerts broad-spectrum antiviral activity in vitro. However, there is no evidence of its impact on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. METHODS: In a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, adult patients presenting up to 3 days after onset of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms (dry cough, fever and/or fatigue) were enrolled. After confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection using reverse transcriptase PCR on a nasopharyngeal swab, patients were randomised 1:1 to receive either nitazoxanide (500 mg) or placebo, three times daily, for 5 days. The primary outcome was complete resolution of symptoms. Secondary outcomes were viral load, laboratory tests, serum biomarkers of inflammation and hospitalisation rate. Adverse events were also assessed. RESULTS: From June 8 to August 20, 2020, 1575 patients were screened. Of these, 392 (198 placebo, 194 nitazoxanide) were analysed. Median (interquartile range) time from symptom onset to first dose of study drug was 5 (4-5) days. At the 5-day study visit, symptom resolution did not differ between the nitazoxanide and placebo arms. Swabs collected were negative for SARS-CoV-2 in 29.9% of patients in the nitazoxanide arm versus 18.2% in the placebo arm (p=0.009). Viral load was reduced after nitazoxanide compared to placebo (p=0.006). The percentage viral load reduction from onset to end of therapy was higher with nitazoxanide (55%) than placebo (45%) (p=0.013). Other secondary outcomes were not significantly different. No serious adverse events were observed. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with mild COVID-19, symptom resolution did not differ between nitazoxanide and placebo groups after 5 days of therapy. However, early nitazoxanide therapy was safe and reduced viral load significantly.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Humans , Nitro Compounds , SARS-CoV-2 , Thiazoles , Treatment Outcome
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