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1.
ACS Omega ; 7(36): 31935-31944, 2022 Sep 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2185524

ABSTRACT

The portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 small molecule drugs is currently limited to a handful that are either approved (remdesivir), emergency approved (dexamethasone, baricitinib, paxlovid, and molnupiravir), or in advanced clinical trials. Vandetanib is a kinase inhibitor which targets the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR), the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), as well as the RET-tyrosine kinase. In the current study, it was tested in different cell lines and showed promising results on inhibition versus the toxic effect on A549-hACE2 cells (IC50 0.79 µM) while also showing a reduction of >3 log TCID50/mL for HCoV-229E. The in vivo efficacy of vandetanib was assessed in a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and statistically significantly reduced the levels of IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α and mitigated inflammatory cell infiltrates in the lungs of infected animals but did not reduce viral load. Vandetanib also decreased CCL2, CCL3, and CCL4 compared to the infected animals. Vandetanib additionally rescued the decreased IFN-1ß caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice to levels similar to that in uninfected animals. Our results indicate that the FDA-approved anticancer drug vandetanib is worthy of further assessment as a potential therapeutic candidate to block the COVID-19 cytokine storm.

2.
J Med Virol ; 2022 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2034900

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains a major public health concern, and vaccine unavailability, hesitancy, or failure underscore the need for discovery of efficacious antiviral drug therapies. Numerous approved drugs target protein kinases associated with viral life cycle and symptoms of infection. Repurposing of kinase inhibitors is appealing as they have been vetted for safety and are more accessible for COVID-19 treatment. However, an understanding of drug mechanism is needed to improve our understanding of the factors involved in pathogenesis. We tested the in vitro activity of three kinase inhibitors against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), including inhibitors of AXL kinase, a host cell factor that contributes to successful SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using multiple cell-based assays and approaches, gilteritinib, nintedanib, and imatinib were thoroughly evaluated for activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants. Each drug exhibited antiviral activity, but with stark differences in potency, suggesting differences in host dependency for kinase targets. Importantly, for gilteritinib, the amount of compound needed to achieve 90% infection inhibition, at least in part involving blockade of spike protein-mediated viral entry and at concentrations not inducing phospholipidosis (PLD), approached a clinically achievable concentration. Knockout of AXL, a target of gilteritinib and nintedanib, impaired SARS-CoV-2 variant infectivity, supporting a role for AXL in SARS-CoV-2 infection and supporting further investigation of drug-mediated AXL inhibition as a COVID-19 treatment. This study supports further evaluation of AXL-targeting kinase inhibitors as potential antiviral agents and treatments for COVID-19. Additional mechanistic studies are needed to determine underlying differences in virus response.

3.
ACS omega ; 7(36):31935-31944, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2012338

ABSTRACT

The portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 small molecule drugs is currently limited to a handful that are either approved (remdesivir), emergency approved (dexamethasone, baricitinib, paxlovid, and molnupiravir), or in advanced clinical trials. Vandetanib is a kinase inhibitor which targets the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR), the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), as well as the RET-tyrosine kinase. In the current study, it was tested in different cell lines and showed promising results on inhibition versus the toxic effect on A549-hACE2 cells (IC50 0.79 μM) while also showing a reduction of >3 log TCID50/mL for HCoV-229E. The in vivo efficacy of vandetanib was assessed in a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection and statistically significantly reduced the levels of IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α and mitigated inflammatory cell infiltrates in the lungs of infected animals but did not reduce viral load. Vandetanib also decreased CCL2, CCL3, and CCL4 compared to the infected animals. Vandetanib additionally rescued the decreased IFN-1β caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice to levels similar to that in uninfected animals. Our results indicate that the FDA-approved anticancer drug vandetanib is worthy of further assessment as a potential therapeutic candidate to block the COVID-19 cytokine storm.

4.
iScience ; 25(10): 105074, 2022 Oct 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2007781

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a worldwide outbreak, known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Alongside vaccines, antiviral therapeutics is an important part of the healthcare response to COVID-19. We previously reported that TEMPOL, a small molecule stable nitroxide, inactivated the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of SARS-CoV-2 by causing the oxidative degradation of its iron-sulfur cofactors. Here, we demonstrate that TEMPOL is effective in vivo in inhibiting viral replication in the Syrian hamster model. The inhibitory effect of TEMPOL on SARS-CoV-2 replication was observed in animals when the drug was administered 2 h before infection in a high-risk exposure model. These data support the potential application of TEMPOL as a highly efficacious antiviral against SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans.

5.
Nat Med ; 28(9): 1944-1955, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1991643

ABSTRACT

Influenza A virus's (IAV's) frequent genetic changes challenge vaccine strategies and engender resistance to current drugs. We sought to identify conserved and essential RNA secondary structures within IAV's genome that are predicted to have greater constraints on mutation in response to therapeutic targeting. We identified and genetically validated an RNA structure (packaging stem-loop 2 (PSL2)) that mediates in vitro packaging and in vivo disease and is conserved across all known IAV isolates. A PSL2-targeting locked nucleic acid (LNA), administered 3 d after, or 14 d before, a lethal IAV inoculum provided 100% survival in mice, led to the development of strong immunity to rechallenge with a tenfold lethal inoculum, evaded attempts to select for resistance and retained full potency against neuraminidase inhibitor-resistant virus. Use of an analogous approach to target SARS-CoV-2, prophylactic administration of LNAs specific for highly conserved RNA structures in the viral genome, protected hamsters from efficient transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 USA_WA1/2020 variant. These findings highlight the potential applicability of this approach to any virus of interest via a process we term 'programmable antivirals', with implications for antiviral prophylaxis and post-exposure therapy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A virus , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Influenza A virus/genetics , Mice , Neuraminidase , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1891, 2022 04 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783979

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease is a critical drug target for small molecule COVID-19 therapy, given its likely druggability and essentiality in the viral maturation and replication cycle. Based on the conservation of 3CL protease substrate binding pockets across coronaviruses and using screening, we identified four structurally distinct lead compounds that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease. After evaluation of their binding specificity, cellular antiviral potency, metabolic stability, and water solubility, we prioritized the GC376 scaffold as being optimal for optimization. We identified multiple drug-like compounds with <10 nM potency for inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 3CL and the ability to block SARS-CoV-2 replication in human cells, obtained co-crystal structures of the 3CL protease in complex with these compounds, and determined that they have pan-coronavirus activity. We selected one compound, termed coronastat, as an optimized lead and characterized it in pharmacokinetic and safety studies in vivo. Coronastat represents a new candidate for a small molecule protease inhibitor for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection for eliminating pandemics involving coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19 , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Protease Inhibitors , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Pandemics , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Microbiology & infectious diseases (Wilmington, Del.) ; 5(2), 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1738196

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, caused >26 million cases in the United States and >437,000 deaths as of Jan 30, 2020. Worldwide by that date, there had been 102 million cases of infections, and deaths had climbed to 2.21 million. Mutated variants of SARS-CoV-2 that have emerged from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa are associated with higher transmission rates and associated deaths. Therefore, novel therapeutic and prophylactic methods against SARS-CoV-2 are in urgent need. While some antiviral drugs, such as Remdesivir, provide relief to certain patient populations, other existing antiviral drugs or combinations of FDA approved pharmaceuticals have yet to show clinical efficacy against COVID-19. Compounds that possess strong and broad antiviral properties with different mechanisms of action against respiratory viruses may provide novel approaches to combat SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, especially if the compounds are classified as generally recognized as safe (GRAS). A large body of evidence indicates a promising potential for the use of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and its derivatives as effective agents against infections from a wide range of pathogenic viruses. However, EGCG or its derivatives have not been tested directly against SARS-CoV-2. The current study was designed to evaluate the potential antiviral activity of EGCG against SARS-CoV-2 infection in primate epithelial cells. Methods applied in the study include cytopathic effect (CPE) assay and virus yield reduction (VYR) assays using Vero 76 (green monkey epithelial cells) and Caco-2 (human epithelial cells) cell lines, respectively. The results demonstrated that EGCG at 0.27 μg/ml (0.59 μM) inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in Vero 76 cells by 50% (i.e., EC50=0.27 μg/ml). EGCG also inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection in Caco-2 cells with EC90=28 μg/ml (61 μM). These results, to the best of our knowledge, are the first observations on the antiviral activities of EGCG against SARS-CoV-2, and suggest that EGCG and its derivatives could be used to combat COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infection-induced illness, pending in vivo and clinical studies.

8.
Science ; 374(6575): 1586-1593, 2021 Dec 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666355

ABSTRACT

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become a global pandemic. Alongside vaccines, antiviral therapeutics are an important part of the healthcare response to countering the ongoing threat presented by COVID-19. Here, we report the discovery and characterization of PF-07321332, an orally bioavailable SARS-CoV-2 main protease inhibitor with in vitro pan-human coronavirus antiviral activity and excellent off-target selectivity and in vivo safety profiles. PF-07321332 has demonstrated oral activity in a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 model and has achieved oral plasma concentrations exceeding the in vitro antiviral cell potency in a phase 1 clinical trial in healthy human participants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Lactams/pharmacology , Lactams/therapeutic use , Leucine/pharmacology , Leucine/therapeutic use , Nitriles/pharmacology , Nitriles/therapeutic use , Proline/pharmacology , Proline/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Viral Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Administration, Oral , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic , Coronavirus/drug effects , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Therapy, Combination , Humans , Lactams/administration & dosage , Lactams/pharmacokinetics , Leucine/administration & dosage , Leucine/pharmacokinetics , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Nitriles/administration & dosage , Nitriles/pharmacokinetics , Proline/administration & dosage , Proline/pharmacokinetics , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Ritonavir/administration & dosage , Ritonavir/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Protease Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Viral Protease Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Virus Replication/drug effects
9.
Arch Pharmacol Ther ; 3(2): 52-65, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515741

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Inhaled budesonide benefits patients with COVID-19. ProLung™-budesonide enables the sustained, low dose administration of budesonide within a delivery vehicle similar to lung surfactant. ProLung™-budesonide may offer anti-inflammatory and protective effects to the lung in COVID-19, yet it's effect on SARS-CoV-2 replication is unknown. OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy of ProLung™-budesonide against SARS-CoV-2-infection in vitro, evaluate its ability to decrease inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness in an animal model of lung inflammation. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2-infected Vero 76 cells were treated with ProLung™-budesonide ([0.03-100 µg/ml]) for 3 days, and virus yield in the supernatant was measured. Ovalbumin-sensitized C57BL/6 mice received aerosolized (a) ProLung™-budesonide weekly, (b) only budesonide, either daily or weekly, or (c) weekly empty ProLung™ carrier (without budesonide). All treatment groups were compared to sensitized untreated, or normal mice using histopathologic examination, electron microscopy (EM), airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to Methacholine (Mch) challenge, and eosinophil peroxidase activity (EPO) measurements in bronchioalveolar lavage (BAL). RESULTS: ProLung™-budesonide showed significant inhibition of viral replication of SARS-CoV-2-infected cells with the selectivity index (SI) value >24. Weekly ProLung™-budesonide and daily budesonide therapy significantly decreased lung inflammation and EPO in BAL. ProLung™-budesonide localized in type II pneumocytes, and was the only group to significantly decrease AHR, and EPO in BAL with Mch challenge. CONCLUSIONS: ProLung™-budesonide significantly inhibited viral replication in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells. It localized into type II pneumocytes, decreased lung inflammation, AHR and EPO activity with Mch challenge. This novel drug formulation may offer a potential inhalational treatment for COVID-19.

10.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 20595, 2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1475487

ABSTRACT

The delivery of safe, visible wavelengths of light can be an effective, pathogen-agnostic, countermeasure that would expand the current portfolio of SARS-CoV-2 intervention strategies beyond the conventional approaches of vaccine, antibody, and antiviral therapeutics. Employing custom biological light units, that incorporate optically engineered light-emitting diode (LED) arrays, we harnessed monochromatic wavelengths of light for uniform delivery across biological surfaces. We demonstrated that primary 3D human tracheal/bronchial-derived epithelial tissues tolerated high doses of a narrow spectral band of visible light centered at a peak wavelength of 425 nm. We extended these studies to Vero E6 cells to understand how light may influence the viability of a mammalian cell line conventionally used for assaying SARS-CoV-2. The exposure of single-cell monolayers of Vero E6 cells to similar doses of 425 nm blue light resulted in viabilities that were dependent on dose and cell density. Doses of 425 nm blue light that are well-tolerated by Vero E6 cells also inhibited infection and replication of cell-associated SARS-CoV-2 by > 99% 24 h post-infection after a single five-minute light exposure. Moreover, the 425 nm blue light inactivated cell-free betacoronaviruses including SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 up to 99.99% in a dose-dependent manner. Importantly, clinically applicable doses of 425 nm blue light dramatically inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication in primary human 3D tracheal/bronchial tissue. Safe doses of visible light should be considered part of the strategic portfolio for the development of SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic countermeasures to mitigate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , Light , SARS-CoV-2 , Trachea/radiation effects , Virus Replication/radiation effects , Adult , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Bronchi , Calibration , Cell-Free System , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelium/pathology , Female , Humans , Respiratory Mucosa/radiation effects , Trachea/virology , Vero Cells
11.
Vaccine ; 39(38): 5410-5421, 2021 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351060

ABSTRACT

Traditional bolus vaccine administration leads to rapid clearance of vaccine from lymphoid tissue. However, there is increasing evidence suggesting that the kinetics of antigen delivery can impact immune responses to vaccines, particularly when tailored to mimic natural infections. Here, we present the specific enhancements sustained release immunization confers to seasonal influenza vaccine, including the magnitude, durability, and breadth of humoral responses. To achieve sustained vaccine delivery kinetics, we have developed a microneedle array patch (MIMIX), with silk fibroin-formulated vaccine tips designed to embed in the dermis after a short application to the skin and release antigen over 1-2 weeks, mimicking the time course of a natural influenza infection. In a preclinical murine model, a single influenza vaccine administration via MIMIX led to faster seroconversion, response-equivalence to prime-boost bolus immunization, higher HAI titers against drifted influenza strains, and improved protective efficacy upon lethal influenza challenge when compared with intramuscular injection. These results highlight infection mimicry, achieved through sustained release silk microneedles, as a powerful approach to improve existing seasonal influenza vaccines, while also suggesting the broader potential of this platform technology to enable more efficacious next-generation vaccines and vaccine combinations.


Subject(s)
Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , Animals , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Mice , Needles , Silk
12.
J Am Chem Soc ; 143(36): 14748-14765, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1397838

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for platform technologies enabling rapid development of vaccines for emerging viral diseases. The current vaccines target the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and thus far have shown tremendous efficacy. However, the need for cold-chain distribution, a prime-boost administration schedule, and the emergence of variants of concern (VOCs) call for diligence in novel SARS-CoV-2 vaccine approaches. We studied 13 peptide epitopes from SARS-CoV-2 and identified three neutralizing epitopes that are highly conserved among the VOCs. Monovalent and trivalent COVID-19 vaccine candidates were formulated by chemical conjugation of the peptide epitopes to cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) nanoparticles and virus-like particles (VLPs) derived from bacteriophage Qß. Efficacy of this approach was validated first using soluble vaccine candidates as solo or trivalent mixtures and subcutaneous prime-boost injection. The high thermal stability of our vaccine candidates allowed for formulation into single-dose injectable slow-release polymer implants, manufactured by melt extrusion, as well as microneedle (MN) patches, obtained through casting into micromolds, for prime-boost self-administration. Immunization of mice yielded high titers of antibodies against the target epitope and S protein, and data confirms that antibodies block receptor binding and neutralize SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 against infection of human cells. We present a nanotechnology vaccine platform that is stable outside the cold-chain and can be formulated into delivery devices enabling single administration or self-administration. CPMV or Qß VLPs could be stockpiled, and epitopes exchanged to target new mutants or emergent diseases as the need arises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/metabolism , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Delayed-Action Preparations/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vaccines, Subunit/metabolism , Animals , Comovirus , Computer Simulation , Drug Compounding , Epitopes/chemistry , Hot Temperature , Humans , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nanoparticles/chemistry , Peptides/chemistry , Vaccination , Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle/chemistry
13.
ACS Chem Biol ; 16(4): 642-650, 2021 04 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387141

ABSTRACT

Host-cell cysteine proteases play an essential role in the processing of the viral spike protein of SARS coronaviruses. K777, an irreversible, covalent inactivator of cysteine proteases that has recently completed phase 1 clinical trials, reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral infectivity in several host cells: Vero E6 (EC50< 74 nM), HeLa/ACE2 (4 nM), Caco-2 (EC90 = 4.3 µM), and A549/ACE2 (<80 nM). Infectivity of Calu-3 cells depended on the cell line assayed. If Calu-3/2B4 was used, EC50 was 7 nM, but in the ATCC Calu-3 cell line without ACE2 enrichment, EC50 was >10 µM. There was no toxicity to any of the host cell lines at 10-100 µM K777 concentration. Kinetic analysis confirmed that K777 was a potent inhibitor of human cathepsin L, whereas no inhibition of the SARS-CoV-2 cysteine proteases (papain-like and 3CL-like protease) was observed. Treatment of Vero E6 cells with a propargyl derivative of K777 as an activity-based probe identified human cathepsin B and cathepsin L as the intracellular targets of this molecule in both infected and uninfected Vero E6 cells. However, cleavage of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was only carried out by cathepsin L. This cleavage was blocked by K777 and occurred in the S1 domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, a different site from that previously observed for the SARS-CoV-1 spike protein. These data support the hypothesis that the antiviral activity of K777 is mediated through inhibition of the activity of host cathepsin L and subsequent loss of cathepsin L-mediated viral spike protein processing.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Phenylalanine/pharmacology , Piperazines/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Tosyl Compounds/pharmacology , Animals , Cathepsin L/antagonists & inhibitors , Cathepsin L/metabolism , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Protein Domains , Proteolysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization/drug effects
14.
J Chem Inf Model ; 61(9): 4224-4235, 2021 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356531

ABSTRACT

With the rapidly evolving SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, there is an urgent need for the discovery of further treatments for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Drug repurposing is one of the most rapid strategies for addressing this need, and numerous compounds have already been selected for in vitro testing by several groups. These have led to a growing database of molecules with in vitro activity against the virus. Machine learning models can assist drug discovery through prediction of the best compounds based on previously published data. Herein, we have implemented several machine learning methods to develop predictive models from recent SARS-CoV-2 in vitro inhibition data and used them to prioritize additional FDA-approved compounds for in vitro testing selected from our in-house compound library. From the compounds predicted with a Bayesian machine learning model, lumefantrine, an antimalarial was selected for testing and showed limited antiviral activity in cell-based assays while demonstrating binding (Kd 259 nM) to the spike protein using microscale thermophoresis. Several other compounds which we prioritized have since been tested by others and were also found to be active in vitro. This combined machine learning and in vitro testing approach can be expanded to virtually screen available molecules with predicted activity against SARS-CoV-2 reference WIV04 strain and circulating variants of concern. In the process of this work, we have created multiple iterations of machine learning models that can be used as a prioritization tool for SARS-CoV-2 antiviral drug discovery programs. The very latest model for SARS-CoV-2 with over 500 compounds is now freely available at www.assaycentral.org.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Bayes Theorem , Humans , Machine Learning , Molecular Docking Simulation
15.
Biomolecules ; 11(8)2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1334992

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection of host cells is driven by binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike-(S)-protein to lung type II pneumocytes, followed by virus replication. Surfactant protein SP-D, member of the front-line immune defense of the lungs, binds glycosylated structures on invading pathogens such as viruses to induce their clearance from the lungs. The objective of this study is to measure the pulmonary SP-D levels in COVID-19 patients and demonstrate the activity of SP-D against SARS-CoV-2, opening the possibility of using SP-D as potential therapy for COVID-19 patients. Pulmonary SP-D concentrations were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage samples from patients with corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by anti-SP-D ELISA. Binding assays were performed by ELISAs. Protein bridge and aggregation assays were performed by gel electrophoresis followed by silver staining and band densitometry. Viral replication was evaluated in vitro using epithelial Caco-2 cells. Results indicate that COVID-19 patients (n = 12) show decreased pulmonary levels of SP-D (median = 68.9 ng/mL) when compared to levels reported for healthy controls in literature. Binding assays demonstrate that SP-D binds the SARS-CoV-2 glycosylated spike-(S)-protein of different emerging clinical variants. Binding induces the formation of protein bridges, the critical step of viral aggregation to facilitate its clearance. SP-D inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in Caco-2 cells (EC90 = 3.7 µg/mL). Therefore, SP-D recognizes and binds to the spike-(S)-protein of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, initiates the aggregation, and inhibits viral replication in cells. Combined with the low levels of SP-D observed in COVID-19 patients, these results suggest that SP-D is important in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and that rhSP-D supplementation has the potential to be a novel class of anti-viral that will target SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein D/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Caco-2 Cells , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Protein Binding , Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein D/genetics , Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein D/pharmacology , Recombinant Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Proteins/metabolism , Recombinant Proteins/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication
16.
Algal Res ; 57: 102331, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1233350

ABSTRACT

Viruses are abiotic obligate parasites utilizing complex mechanisms to hijack cellular machinery and reproduce, causing multiple harmful effects in the process. Viruses represent a growing global health concern; at the time of writing, COVID-19 has killed at least two million people around the world and devastated global economies. Lingering concern regarding the virus' prevalence yet hampers return to normalcy. While catastrophic in and of itself, COVID-19 further heralds in a new era of human-disease interaction characterized by the emergence of novel viruses from natural sources with heretofore unseen frequency. Due to deforestation, population growth, and climate change, we are encountering more viruses that can infect larger groups of people with greater ease and increasingly severe outcomes. The devastation of COVID-19 and forecasts of future human/disease interactions call for a creative reconsideration of global response to infectious disease. There is an urgent need for accessible, cost-effective antiviral (AV) drugs that can be mass-produced and widely distributed to large populations. Development of AV drugs should be informed by a thorough understanding of viral structure and function as well as human biology. To maximize efficacy, minimize cost, and reduce development of drug-resistance, these drugs would ideally operate through a varied set of mechanisms at multiple stages throughout the course of infection. Due to their abundance and diversity, natural compounds are ideal for such comprehensive therapeutic interventions. Promising sources of such drugs are found throughout nature; especially remarkable are the algae, a polyphyletic grouping of phototrophs that produce diverse bioactive compounds. While not much literature has been published on the subject, studies have shown that these compounds exert antiviral effects at different stages of viral pathogenesis. In this review, we follow the course of viral infection in the human body and evaluate the AV effects of algae-derived compounds at each stage. Specifically, we examine the AV activities of algae-derived compounds at the entry of viruses into the body, transport through the body via the lymph and blood, infection of target cells, and immune response. We discuss what is known about algae-derived compounds that may interfere with the infection pathways of SARS-CoV-2; and review which algae are promising sources for AV agents or AV precursors that, with further investigation, may yield life-saving drugs due to their diversity of mechanisms and exceptional pharmaceutical potential.

17.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250019, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197380

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic, and has taken over 1.7 million lives as of mid-December, 2020. Although great progress has been made in the development of effective countermeasures, with several pharmaceutical companies approved or poised to deliver vaccines to market, there is still an unmet need of essential antiviral drugs with therapeutic impact for the treatment of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Towards this goal, a high-throughput assay was used to screen SARS-CoV-2 nsp15 uracil-dependent endonuclease (endoU) function against 13 thousand compounds from drug and lead repurposing compound libraries. While over 80% of initial hit compounds were pan-assay inhibitory compounds, three hits were confirmed as nsp15 endoU inhibitors in the 1-20 µM range in vitro. Furthermore, Exebryl-1, a ß-amyloid anti-aggregation molecule for Alzheimer's therapy, was shown to have antiviral activity between 10 to 66 µM, in Vero 76, Caco-2, and Calu-3 cells. Although the inhibitory concentrations determined for Exebryl-1 exceed those recommended for therapeutic intervention, our findings show great promise for further optimization of Exebryl-1 as an nsp15 endoU inhibitor and as a SARS-CoV-2 antiviral.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Endoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Repositioning/methods , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
18.
ACS Omega ; 6(11): 7454-7468, 2021 Mar 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1155692

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a newly identified virus that has resulted in over 2.5 million deaths globally and over 116 million cases globally in March, 2021. Small-molecule inhibitors that reverse disease severity have proven difficult to discover. One of the key approaches that has been widely applied in an effort to speed up the translation of drugs is drug repurposing. A few drugs have shown in vitro activity against Ebola viruses and demonstrated activity against SARS-CoV-2 in vivo. Most notably, the RNA polymerase targeting remdesivir demonstrated activity in vitro and efficacy in the early stage of the disease in humans. Testing other small-molecule drugs that are active against Ebola viruses (EBOVs) would appear a reasonable strategy to evaluate their potential for SARS-CoV-2. We have previously repurposed pyronaridine, tilorone, and quinacrine (from malaria, influenza, and antiprotozoal uses, respectively) as inhibitors of Ebola and Marburg viruses in vitro in HeLa cells and mouse-adapted EBOV in mice in vivo. We have now tested these three drugs in various cell lines (VeroE6, Vero76, Caco-2, Calu-3, A549-ACE2, HUH-7, and monocytes) infected with SARS-CoV-2 as well as other viruses (including MHV and HCoV 229E). The compilation of these results indicated considerable variability in antiviral activity observed across cell lines. We found that tilorone and pyronaridine inhibited the virus replication in A549-ACE2 cells with IC50 values of 180 nM and IC50 198 nM, respectively. We used microscale thermophoresis to test the binding of these molecules to the spike protein, and tilorone and pyronaridine bind to the spike receptor binding domain protein with K d values of 339 and 647 nM, respectively. Human Cmax for pyronaridine and quinacrine is greater than the IC50 observed in A549-ACE2 cells. We also provide novel insights into the mechanism of these compounds which is likely lysosomotropic.

19.
ACS Infect Dis ; 7(3): 586-597, 2021 03 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1108883

ABSTRACT

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the morbidity and mortality are increasing daily. Effective treatment for SARS-CoV-2 is urgently needed. We recently discovered four SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro) inhibitors including boceprevir, calpain inhibitors II and XII, and GC-376 with potent antiviral activity against infectious SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture. In this study, we further characterized the mechanism of action of these four compounds using the SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus neutralization assay. It was found that GC-376 and calpain inhibitors II and XII have a dual mechanism of action by inhibiting both viral Mpro and host cathepsin L in Vero cells. To rule out the cell-type dependent effect, the antiviral activity of these four compounds against SARS-CoV-2 was also confirmed in type 2 transmembrane serine protease-expressing Caco-2 cells using the viral yield reduction assay. In addition, we found that these four compounds have broad-spectrum antiviral activity in inhibiting not only SARS-CoV-2 but also SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV, as well as human coronaviruses (CoVs) 229E, OC43, and NL63. The mechanism of action is through targeting the viral Mpro, which was supported by the thermal shift-binding assay and enzymatic fluorescence resonance energy transfer assay. We further showed that these four compounds have additive antiviral effect when combined with remdesivir. Altogether, these results suggest that boceprevir, calpain inhibitors II and XII, and GC-376 might be promising starting points for further development against existing human coronaviruses as well as future emerging CoVs.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Carbonates/pharmacology , Glycoproteins/pharmacology , Leucine/pharmacology , Oligopeptides/pharmacology , Proline/analogs & derivatives , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sulfonic Acids/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Caco-2 Cells , Cathepsin L/antagonists & inhibitors , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 229E, Human/drug effects , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus NL63, Human/drug effects , Coronavirus OC43, Human/drug effects , Drug Combinations , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Proline/pharmacology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vero Cells
20.
Sci Adv ; 6(50)2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-969082

ABSTRACT

The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is a key antiviral drug target. While most Mpro inhibitors have a γ-lactam glutamine surrogate at the P1 position, we recently found that several Mpro inhibitors have hydrophobic moieties at the P1 site, including calpain inhibitors II and XII, which are also active against human cathepsin L, a host protease that is important for viral entry. In this study, we solved x-ray crystal structures of Mpro in complex with calpain inhibitors II and XII and three analogs of GC-376 The structure of Mpro with calpain inhibitor II confirmed that the S1 pocket can accommodate a hydrophobic methionine side chain, challenging the idea that a hydrophilic residue is necessary at this position. The structure of calpain inhibitor XII revealed an unexpected, inverted binding pose. Together, the biochemical, computational, structural, and cellular data presented herein provide new directions for the development of dual inhibitors as SARS-CoV-2 antivirals.


Subject(s)
Cathepsin L/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Drug Design , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Cathepsin L/antagonists & inhibitors , Cathepsin L/metabolism , Cell Line , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Crystallography, X-Ray , Dogs , Humans , Kinetics , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Models, Chemical , Molecular Structure , Protease Inhibitors/metabolism , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Protein Domains , Vero Cells
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