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Cell Discov ; 8(1): 88, 2022 Sep 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2008268


The receptor-binding domain (RBD) in S1 subunit and heptad repeat 1 (HR1) domain in S2 subunit of SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein are the targets of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) and pan-coronavirus (CoV) fusion inhibitory peptides, respectively. However, neither nAb- nor peptide-based drugs can be used orally. In this study, we screened a one-bead-two-compound (OBTC) cyclic γ-AApeptide library against SARS-CoV-2 S protein and identified a hit: S-20 with potent membrane fusion inhibitory activity, but moderate selectivity index (SI). After modification, one derivative, S-20-1, exhibited improved fusion inhibitory activity and SI (>1000). S-20-1 could effectively inhibit infection by pseudotyped and authentic SARS-CoV-2 and pseudotyped variants of concern (VOCs), including B.1.617.2 (Delta) and B.1.1.529 (Omicron), as well as MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-229E, and HCoV-NL63. It could also inhibit infection of a pseudotyped SARS-related coronavirus WIV1 (SARSr-CoV-WIV1) from bats. Intranasal application of S-20-1 to mice before or after challenge with HCoV-OC43 or SARS-CoV-2 provided significant protection from infection. Importantly, S-20-1 was highly resistant to proteolytic degradation, had long half-life, and possessed favorable oral bioavailability. Mechanistic studies suggest that S-20-1 binds with high affinity to RBD in S1 and HR1 domain in S2 of SARS-CoV-2 S protein. Thus, with its pan-CoV fusion and entry inhibitory activity by targeting two sites in S protein, desirable half-life, and promising oral bioavailability, S-20-1 is a potential candidate for further development as a novel therapeutic and prophylactic drug against infection by SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, as well as future emerging and reemerging CoVs.