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Antiviral Res ; 202: 105311, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1773103


Nelfinavir is an HIV protease inhibitor that has been widely prescribed as a component of highly active antiretroviral therapy, and has been reported to exert in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. We here assessed the effect of Nelfinavir in a SARS-CoV-2 infection model in hamsters. Despite the fact that Nelfinavir, [50 mg/kg twice daily (BID) for four consecutive days], did not reduce viral RNA load and infectious virus titres in the lung of infected animals, treatment resulted in a substantial improvement of SARS-CoV-2-induced lung pathology. This was accompanied by a dense infiltration of neutrophils in the lung interstitium which was similarly observed in non-infected hamsters. Nelfinavir resulted also in a marked increase in activated neutrophils in the blood, as observed in non-infected animals. Although Nelfinavir treatment did not alter the expression of chemoattractant receptors or adhesion molecules on human neutrophils, in vitro migration of human neutrophils to the major human neutrophil attractant CXCL8 was augmented by this protease inhibitor. Nelfinavir appears to induce an immunomodulatory effect associated with increasing neutrophil number and functionality, which may be linked to the marked improvement in SARS-CoV-2 lung pathology independent of its lack of antiviral activity. Since Nelfinavir is no longer used for the treatment of HIV, we studied the effect of two other HIV protease inhibitors, namely the combination Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Kaletra™) in this model. This combination resulted in a similar protective effect as Nelfinavir against SARS-CoV2 induced lung pathology in hamsters.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , HIV Protease Inhibitors , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cricetinae , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , HIV Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Lopinavir/pharmacology , Lopinavir/therapeutic use , Lung , Mesocricetus , Nelfinavir/pharmacology , Nelfinavir/therapeutic use , RNA, Viral , Ritonavir/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 719, 2022 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692616


There is an urgent need for potent and selective antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. Pfizer developed PF-07321332 (PF-332), a potent inhibitor of the viral main protease (Mpro, 3CLpro) that can be dosed orally and that is in clinical development. We here report that PF-332 exerts equipotent in vitro activity against the four SARS-CoV-2 variants of concerns (VoC) and that it can completely arrest replication of the alpha variant in primary human airway epithelial cells grown at the air-liquid interface. Treatment of Syrian Golden hamsters with PF-332 (250 mg/kg, twice daily) completely protected the animals against intranasal infection with the beta (B.1.351) and delta (B.1.617.2) SARS-CoV-2 variants. Moreover, treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.617.2) infected animals with PF-332 completely prevented transmission to untreated co-housed sentinels.

COVID-19/drug therapy , Disease Models, Animal , Lactams/administration & dosage , Leucine/administration & dosage , Nitriles/administration & dosage , Proline/administration & dosage , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Viral Protease Inhibitors/administration & dosage , A549 Cells , Administration, Oral , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Cricetinae , Humans , Lactams/pharmacokinetics , Leucine/pharmacokinetics , Mesocricetus , Nitriles/pharmacokinetics , Proline/pharmacokinetics , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Viral Protease Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Virus Replication/drug effects
EBioMedicine ; 72: 103595, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433162


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.

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