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biorxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.03.20.485044


RNA interference is a natural antiviral mechanism that could be harnessed to combat SARS-CoV-2 infection by targeting and destroying the viral genome. We screened lipophilic small-interfering RNA (siRNA) conjugates targeting highly conserved regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and identified leads targeting outside of the spike-encoding region capable of achieving [≥]3-log viral reduction. Serial passaging studies demonstrated that a two-siRNA combination prevented development of resistance compared to a single-siRNA approach. A two-siRNA combination delivered intranasally protected Syrian hamsters from weight loss and lung pathology by viral infection upon prophylactic administration but not following onset of infection. Together, the data support potential utility of RNAi as a prophylactic approach to limit SARS-CoV-2 infection that may help combat emergent variants, complement existing interventions, or protect populations where vaccines are less effective. Most importantly, this strategy has implications for developing medicines that may be valuable in protecting against future coronavirus pandemics.

Weight Loss , COVID-19
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.03.09.434607


VIR-7831 and VIR-7832 are dual action monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting the spike glycoprotein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). VIR-7831 and VIR-7832 were derived from a parent antibody (S309) isolated from memory B cells of a 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) survivor. Both mAbs contain an LS mutation in the Fc region to prolong serum half-life and potentially enhance distribution to the respiratory mucosa. In addition, VIR-7832 encodes an Fc GAALIE mutation that has been shown previously to evoke CD8+ T-cells in the context of an in vivo viral respiratory infection. VIR-7831 and VIR-7832 potently neutralize live wild-type SARS-CoV-2 in vitro as well as pseudotyped viruses encoding spike protein from the B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1 variants. In addition, they retain activity against monoclonal antibody resistance mutations that confer reduced susceptibility to currently authorized mAbs. The VIR-7831/VIR-7832 epitope does not overlap with mutational sites in the current variants of concern and continues to be highly conserved among circulating sequences consistent with the high barrier to resistance observed in vitro. Furthermore, both mAbs can recruit effector mechanisms in vitro that may contribute to clinical efficacy via elimination of infected host cells. In vitro studies with these mAbs demonstrated no enhancement of infection. In a Syrian Golden hamster proof-of concept concept wildtype SARS-CoV-2 infection model, animals treated with VIR-7831 had less weight loss, and significantly decreased total viral load and infectious virus levels in the lung compared to a control mAb. Taken together, these data indicate that VIR-7831 and VIR-7832 are promising new agents in the fight against COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Weight Loss , Coronavirus Infections , Respiratory Tract Infections