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1.
Viruses ; 14(5)2022 05 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1820417

ABSTRACT

The emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants and the replacement of preceding isolates have been observed through B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.617.2, and B.1.1.529 lineages (corresponding to alpha, beta, delta, and omicron variants of concern (VoC), respectively). However, there is still a lack of biological evidence to which extent those VoC differ from the ancestral lineages. By exploiting human airway epithelial cell (HAEC) cultures, which closely resemble the human airway architecture and physiology, we report distinctive SARS-CoV-2 tropism in different respiratory tissues. In general, SARS-CoV-2 VoC predominantly infect and replicate in HAEC better than the progenitor USA-WA1 isolate or the BavPat1 isolate, which contains the D614G mutation, even though there is little to no difference between variants regarding their infectivity (i.e., virion-per-vRNA copy ratio). We also observe differential tissue-specific innate immunity activation between the upper and lower respiratory tissues in the presence of the virus. Our study provides better comprehension of the behavior of the different VoC in this physiologically relevant ex vivo model.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cytokines , Epithelial Cells , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virion/pathogenicity
2.
EBioMedicine ; 72: 103595, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433162

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Favipiravir and Molnupiravir, orally available antivirals, have been reported to exert antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. First efficacy data have been recently reported in COVID-19 patients. METHODS: We here report on the combined antiviral effect of both drugs in a SARS-CoV-2 Syrian hamster infection model. The infected hamsters were treated twice daily with the vehicle (the control group) or a suboptimal dose of each compound or a combination of both compounds. FINDINGS: When animals were treated with a combination of suboptimal doses of Molnupiravir and Favipiravir at the time of infection, a marked combined potency at endpoint is observed. Infectious virus titers in the lungs of animals treated with the combination are reduced by ∼5 log10 and infectious virus are no longer detected in the lungs of >60% of treated animals. When start of treatment was delayed with one day a reduction of titers in the lungs of 2.4 log10 was achieved. Moreover, treatment of infected animals nearly completely prevented transmission to co-housed untreated sentinels. Both drugs result in an increased mutation frequency of the remaining viral RNA recovered from the lungs of treated animals. In the combo-treated hamsters, an increased frequency of C-to-T mutations in the viral RNA is observed as compared to the single treatment groups which may explain the pronounced antiviral potency of the combination. INTERPRETATION: Our findings may lay the basis for the design of clinical studies to test the efficacy of the combination of Molnupiravir/Favipiravir in the treatment of COVID-19. FUNDING: stated in the acknowledgment.


Subject(s)
Amides/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Hydroxylamines/therapeutic use , Lung/virology , Pyrazines/therapeutic use , Amides/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/transmission , Cytidine/pharmacology , Cytidine/therapeutic use , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Therapy, Combination , Female , Hydroxylamines/pharmacology , Mesocricetus , Pyrazines/pharmacology , RNA, Viral , Treatment Outcome , Viral Load
3.
Antiviral Res ; 192: 105122, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1283915

ABSTRACT

There are, besides remdesivir, no approved antivirals for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections. To aid in the search for antivirals against this virus, we explored the use of human tracheal airway epithelial cells (HtAEC) and human small airway epithelial cells (HsAEC) grown at the air-liquid interface (ALI). These cultures were infected at the apical side with one of two different SARS-CoV-2 isolates. Each virus was shown to replicate to high titers for extended periods of time (at least 8 days) and, in particular an isolate with the D614G in the spike (S) protein did so more efficiently at 35 °C than 37 °C. The effect of a selected panel of reference drugs that were added to the culture medium at the basolateral side of the system was explored. Remdesivir, GS-441524 (the parent nucleoside of remdesivir), EIDD-1931 (the parent nucleoside of molnupiravir) and IFN (ß1 and λ1) all resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of viral RNA and infectious virus titers collected at the apical side. However, AT-511 (the free base form of AT-527 currently in clinical testing) failed to inhibit viral replication in these in vitro primary cell models. Together, these results provide a reference for further studies aimed at selecting SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors for further preclinical and clinical development.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Vero Cells
4.
EBioMedicine ; 66: 103288, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1141720

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The antifungal drug itraconazole exerts in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2 in Vero and human Caco-2 cells. Preclinical and clinical studies are required to investigate if itraconazole is effective for the treatment and/or prevention of COVID-19. METHODS: Due to the initial absence of preclinical models, the effect of itraconazole was explored in a clinical, proof-of-concept, open-label, single-center study, in which hospitalized COVID-19 patients were randomly assigned to standard of care with or without itraconazole. Primary outcome was the cumulative score of the clinical status until day 15 based on the 7-point ordinal scale of the World Health Organization. In parallel, itraconazole was evaluated in a newly established hamster model of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission, as soon as the model was validated. FINDINGS: In the hamster acute infection model, itraconazole did not reduce viral load in lungs, stools or ileum, despite adequate plasma and lung drug concentrations. In the transmission model, itraconazole failed to prevent viral transmission. The clinical trial was prematurely discontinued after evaluation of the preclinical studies and because an interim analysis showed no signal for a more favorable outcome with itraconazole: mean cumulative score of the clinical status 49 vs 47, ratio of geometric means 1.01 (95% CI 0.85 to 1.19) for itraconazole vs standard of care. INTERPRETATION: Despite in vitro activity, itraconazole was not effective in a preclinical COVID-19 hamster model. This prompted the premature termination of the proof-of-concept clinical study. FUNDING: KU Leuven, Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO), Horizon 2020, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Itraconazole/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19/transmission , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Female , Humans , Itraconazole/administration & dosage , Itraconazole/pharmacokinetics , Itraconazole/therapeutic use , Male , Mesocricetus , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Proof of Concept Study , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Treatment Outcome , Vero Cells
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