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1.
Int J Biol Sci ; 18(12): 4781-4791, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1954684

ABSTRACT

Rapid development and successful use of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 might hold the key to curb the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19. Emergence of vaccine-evasive SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) has posed a new challenge to vaccine design and development. One urgent need is to determine what types of variant-specific and bivalent vaccines should be developed. Here, we compared homotypic and heterotypic protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection of hamsters with monovalent and bivalent whole-virion inactivated vaccines derived from representative VOCs. In addition to the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan strain, Delta (B.1.617.2; δ) and Theta (P.3; θ) variants were used in vaccine preparation. Additional VOCs including Omicron (B.1.1.529) and Alpha (B.1.1.7) variants were employed in the challenge experiment. Consistent with previous findings, Omicron variant exhibited the highest degree of immune evasion, rendering all different forms of inactivated vaccines substantially less efficacious. Notably, monovalent and bivalent Delta variant-specific inactivated vaccines provided optimal protection against challenge with Delta variant. Yet, some cross-variant protection against Omicron and Alpha variants was seen with all monovalent and bivalent inactivated vaccines tested. Taken together, our findings support the notion that an optimal next-generation inactivated vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 should contain the predominant VOC in circulation. Further investigations are underway to test whether a bivalent vaccine for Delta and Omicron variants can serve this purpose.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Combined , Vaccines, Inactivated
2.
Science ; 377(6604): 428-433, 2022 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1901908

ABSTRACT

The in vivo pathogenicity, transmissibility, and fitness of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant are not well understood. We compared these virological attributes of this new variant of concern (VOC) with those of the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant in a Syrian hamster model of COVID-19. Omicron-infected hamsters lost significantly less body weight and exhibited reduced clinical scores, respiratory tract viral burdens, cytokine and chemokine dysregulation, and lung damage than Delta-infected hamsters. Both variants were highly transmissible through contact transmission. In noncontact transmission studies Omicron demonstrated similar or higher transmissibility than Delta. Delta outcompeted Omicron without selection pressure, but this scenario changed once immune selection pressure with neutralizing antibodies-active against Delta but poorly active against Omicron-was introduced. Next-generation vaccines and antivirals effective against this new VOC are therefore urgently needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Models, Animal , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virulence
3.
Cell Mol Immunol ; 19(5): 588-601, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830046

ABSTRACT

Live attenuated vaccines might elicit mucosal and sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 that the existing mRNA, adenoviral vector and inactivated vaccines fail to induce. Here, we describe a candidate live attenuated vaccine strain of SARS-CoV-2 in which the NSP16 gene, which encodes 2'-O-methyltransferase, is catalytically disrupted by a point mutation. This virus, designated d16, was severely attenuated in hamsters and transgenic mice, causing only asymptomatic and nonpathogenic infection. A single dose of d16 administered intranasally resulted in sterilizing immunity in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts of hamsters, thus preventing viral spread in a contact-based transmission model. It also robustly stimulated humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, thus conferring full protection against lethal challenge with SARS-CoV-2 in a transgenic mouse model. The neutralizing antibodies elicited by d16 effectively cross-reacted with several SARS-CoV-2 variants. Secretory immunoglobulin A was detected in the blood and nasal wash of vaccinated mice. Our work provides proof-of-principle evidence for harnessing NSP16-deficient SARS-CoV-2 for the development of live attenuated vaccines and paves the way for further preclinical studies of d16 as a prototypic vaccine strain, to which new features might be introduced to improve safety, transmissibility, immunogenicity and efficacy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cricetinae , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Vaccines, Attenuated/genetics
5.
Protein Cell ; 13(12): 940-953, 2022 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1777863

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and repeated outbreaks of coronavirus epidemics in the past two decades emphasize the need for next-generation pan-coronaviral therapeutics. Drugging the multi-functional papain-like protease (PLpro) domain of the viral nsp3 holds promise. However, none of the known coronavirus PLpro inhibitors has been shown to be in vivo active. Herein, we screened a structurally diverse library of 50,080 compounds for potential coronavirus PLpro inhibitors and identified a noncovalent lead inhibitor F0213 that has broad-spectrum anti-coronaviral activity, including against the Sarbecoviruses (SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2), Merbecovirus (MERS-CoV), as well as the Alphacoronavirus (hCoV-229E and hCoV-OC43). Importantly, F0213 confers protection in both SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters and MERS-CoV-infected human DPP4-knockin mice. F0213 possesses a dual therapeutic functionality that suppresses coronavirus replication via blocking viral polyprotein cleavage, as well as promoting antiviral immunity by antagonizing the PLpro deubiquitinase activity. Despite the significant difference of substrate recognition, mode of inhibition studies suggest that F0213 is a competitive inhibitor against SARS2-PLpro via binding with the 157K amino acid residue, whereas an allosteric inhibitor of MERS-PLpro interacting with its 271E position. Our proof-of-concept findings demonstrated that PLpro is a valid target for the development of broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus agents. The orally administered F0213 may serve as a promising lead compound for combating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and future coronavirus outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Cricetinae , Humans , Mice , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology
6.
Viruses ; 12(6)2020 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726021

ABSTRACT

The ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) signals an urgent need for an expansion in treatment options. In this study, we investigated the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of 22 antiviral agents with known broad-spectrum antiviral activities against coronaviruses and/or other viruses. They were first evaluated in our primary screening in VeroE6 cells and then the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiviral agents were further evaluated using viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays. In addition to remdesivir, lopinavir, and chloroquine, our primary screening additionally identified types I and II recombinant interferons, 25-hydroxycholesterol, and AM580 as the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents among the 22 antiviral agents. Betaferon (interferon-ß1b) exhibited the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays among the recombinant interferons. The lipogenesis modulators 25-hydroxycholesterol and AM580 exhibited EC50 at low micromolar levels and selectivity indices of >10.0. Combinational use of these host-based antiviral agents with virus-based antivirals to target different processes of the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle should be evaluated in animal models and/or clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Animals , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Interferons/metabolism , Lipogenesis/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Viral Plaque Assay , Virus Replication/drug effects
7.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 02 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715781

ABSTRACT

The global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become more serious because of the continuous emergence of variants of concern (VOC), thus calling for the development of broad-spectrum vaccines with greater efficacy. Adjuvants play important roles in enhancing the immunogenicity of protein-based subunit vaccines. In this study, we compared the effect of three adjuvants, including aluminum, nanoparticle manganese and MF59, on the immunogenicity of three protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including RBD-Fc, RBD and S-trimer. We found that the nanoparticle manganese adjuvant elicited the highest titers of SARS-CoV-2 RBD-specific IgG, IgG1 and IgG2a, as well as neutralizing antibodies against infection by pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 and its Delta variant. What is more, the nanoparticle manganese adjuvant effectively reduced the viral load of the authentic SARS-CoV-2 and Delta variant in the cell culture supernatants. These results suggest that nanoparticle manganese, known to facilitate cGAS-STING activation, is an optimal adjuvant for protein-based COVID-19 subunit vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunity , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Subunit
8.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324816

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic is the third zoonotic coronavirus (CoV) outbreak of the century after severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) since 2012. Treatment options for CoVs are largely lacking. Here, we show that clofazimine, an anti-leprosy drug with a favorable safety and pharmacokinetics profile, possesses pan-coronaviral inhibitory activity, and can antagonize SARS-CoV-2 replication in multiple in vitro systems, including the human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and ex vivo lung cultures. The FDA-approved molecule was found to inhibit multiple steps of viral replication, suggesting multiple underlying antiviral mechanisms. In a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, prophylactic or therapeutic administration of clofazimine significantly reduced viral load in the lung and fecal viral shedding, and also prevented cytokine storm associated with viral infection. Additionally, clofazimine exhibited synergy when administered with remdesivir. Since clofazimine is orally bioavailable and has a comparatively low manufacturing cost, it is an attractive clinical candidate for outpatient treatment and remdesivir-based combinatorial therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, particularly in developing countries. Taken together, our data provide evidence that clofazimine may have a role in the control of the current pandemic SARS-CoV-2, endemic MERS-CoV in the Middle East, and, possibly most importantly, emerging CoVs of the future.

9.
Cell Discov ; 7(1): 100, 2021 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493085

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is predominantly a respiratory tract infection that significantly rewires the host metabolism. Here, we monitored a cohort of COVID-19 patients' plasma lipidome over the disease course and identified triacylglycerol (TG) as the dominant lipid class present in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-induced metabolic dysregulation. In particular, we pinpointed the lipid droplet (LD)-formation enzyme diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) and the LD stabilizer adipocyte differentiation-related protein (ADRP) to be essential host factors for SARS-CoV-2 replication. Mechanistically, viral nucleo capsid protein drives DGAT1/2 gene expression to facilitate LD formation and associates with ADRP on the LD surface to complete the viral replication cycle. DGAT gene depletion reduces SARS-CoV-2 protein synthesis without compromising viral genome replication/transcription. Importantly, a cheap and orally available DGAT inhibitor, xanthohumol, was found to suppress SARS-CoV-2 replication and the associated pulmonary inflammation in a hamster model. Our findings not only uncovered the mechanistic role of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein to exploit LDs-oriented network for heightened metabolic demand, but also the potential to target the LDs-synthetase DGAT and LDs-stabilizer ADRP for COVID-19 treatment.

10.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429186

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effect of low environmental temperature on viral shedding and disease severity of COVID-19 is uncertain. METHODS: We investigated the virological, clinical, pathological, and immunological changes in hamsters housed at room (21 oC), low (12-15 oC), and high (30-33 oC) temperature after challenge by 10 5 plaque-forming units of SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: The nasal turbinate, trachea, and lung viral load and live virus titre were significantly higher (~0.5-log10 gene copies/ß-actin, p<0.05) in the low temperature group at 7 days post-infection (dpi). The low temperature group also demonstrated significantly higher level of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-1ß, and CCL3, and lower level of the antiviral IFN-α in lung tissues at 4dpi than the other two groups. Their lungs were grossly and diffusely haemorrhagic, with more severe and diffuse alveolar and peribronchiolar inflammatory infiltration, bronchial epithelial cell death, and significantly higher mean total lung histology scores. By 7dpi, the low temperature group still showed persistent and severe alveolar inflammation and haemorrhage, and little alveolar cell proliferative changes of recovery. The viral loads in the oral swabs of the low temperature group were significantly higher from 10-17dpi by about 0.5-1.0-log10 gene copies/ß-actin. The mean neutralizing antibody titre of the low temperature group was significantly (p<0.05) lower than that of the room temperature group at 7dpi and 30dpi. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided in-vivo evidence that low environmental temperature exacerbated the degree of virus shedding, disease severity, and tissue proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines expression, and suppressed the neutralizing antibody response of SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters. Keeping warm in winter may reduce the severity of COVID-19.

11.
Advanced Therapeutics ; n/a(n/a):2100059, 2021.
Article in English | Wiley | ID: covidwho-1263046

ABSTRACT

Abstract In response to the epidemic and pandemic threats caused by emerging respiratory viral infections, a safe and efficient broad-spectrum antiviral therapy at early onset of infection can significantly improve patients? outcome. Inhaled dry powder is easy to administer and delivers antiviral agent directly to the primary site of infection, thereby minimizing systemic side effects. Here, spray freeze drying (SFD) technique is employed to formulate tamibarotene, a retinoid derivative with broad-spectrum antiviral activity, as inhalable powder. The SFD tamibarotene powder exhibits desirable physicochemical and aerodynamic properties for inhalation. Pulmonary delivery of tamibarotene powder results in rapid absorption and higher bioavailability compared with intraperitoneal injection of unformulated drug in animals. More importantly, inhalation or intranasal delivery of SFD tamibarotene formulation displays broad-spectrum antiviral activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and pandemic 2009 influenza A virus (H1N1) in mouse and hamster models by targeting lower or upper airways, and the efficacy is comparable or superior to the commercially available antivirals remdesivir and zanamivir against specific virus. These results present a promising strategy to combat various respiratory viral infections including SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus, or even co-infection.

12.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(6): 1555-1564, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206436

ABSTRACT

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the novel lineage B betacoroanvirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in significant mortality, morbidity, and socioeconomic disruptions worldwide. Effective antivirals are urgently needed for COVID-19. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is an attractive antiviral target because of its essential role in the cleavage of the viral polypeptide. In this study, we performed an in silico structure-based screening of a large chemical library to identify potential SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors. Among 8,820 compounds in the library, our screening identified trichostatin A, a histone deacetylase inhibitor and an antifungal compound, as an inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro activity and replication. The half maximal effective concentration of trichostatin A against SARS-CoV-2 replication was 1.5 to 2.7µM, which was markedly below its 50% effective cytotoxic concentration (75.7µM) and peak serum concentration (132µM). Further drug compound optimization to develop more stable analogues with longer half-lives should be performed. This structure-based drug discovery platform should facilitate the identification of additional enzyme inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Computer Simulation , Drug Discovery , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Structure , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Vero Cells
13.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 874-884, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199439

ABSTRACT

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is unlikely to abate until sufficient herd immunity is built up by either natural infection or vaccination. We previously identified ten linear immunodominant sites on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein of which four are located within the RBD. Therefore, we designed two linkerimmunodominant site (LIS) vaccine candidates which are composed of four immunodominant sites within the RBD (RBD-ID) or all the 10 immunodominant sites within the whole spike (S-ID). They were administered by subcutaneous injection and were tested for immunogenicity and in vivo protective efficacy in a hamster model for COVID-19. We showed that the S-ID vaccine induced significantly better neutralizing antibody response than RBD-ID and alum control. As expected, hamsters vaccinated by S-ID had significantly less body weight loss, lung viral load, and histopathological changes of pneumonia. The S-ID has the potential to be an effective vaccine for protection against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Animals , Cricetinae , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Vaccination
14.
Clin Infect Dis ; 71(16): 2139-2149, 2020 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1153181

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is believed to be mostly transmitted by medium- to large-sized respiratory droplets, although airborne transmission may be possible in healthcare settings involving aerosol-generating procedures. Exposure to respiratory droplets can theoretically be reduced by surgical mask usage. However, there is a lack of experimental evidence supporting surgical mask usage for prevention of COVID-19. METHODS: We used a well-established golden Syrian hamster SARS-CoV-2 model. We placed SARS-CoV-2-challenged index hamsters and naive hamsters into closed system units each comprising 2 different cages separated by a polyvinyl chloride air porous partition with unidirectional airflow within the isolator. The effect of a surgical mask partition placed between the cages was investigated. Besides clinical scoring, hamster specimens were tested for viral load, histopathology, and viral nucleocapsid antigen expression. RESULTS: Noncontact transmission was found in 66.7% (10/15) of exposed naive hamsters. Surgical mask partition for challenged index or naive hamsters significantly reduced transmission to 25% (6/24, P = .018). Surgical mask partition for challenged index hamsters significantly reduced transmission to only 16.7% (2/12, P = .019) of exposed naive hamsters. Unlike the severe manifestations of challenged hamsters, infected naive hamsters had lower clinical scores, milder histopathological changes, and lower viral nucleocapsid antigen expression in respiratory tract tissues. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 could be transmitted by respiratory droplets or airborne droplet nuclei which could be reduced by surgical mask partition in the hamster model. This is the first in vivo experimental evidence to support the possible benefit of surgical mask in prevention of COVID-19 transmission, especially when masks were worn by infected individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Masks , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Cricetinae , Female , Male , Pandemics , Viral Load
15.
Nature ; 593(7859): 418-423, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1137788

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is the third outbreak this century of a zoonotic disease caused by a coronavirus, following the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 20031 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 20122. Treatment options for coronaviruses are limited. Here we show that clofazimine-an anti-leprosy drug with a favourable safety profile3-possesses inhibitory activity against several coronaviruses, and can antagonize the replication of SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV in a range of in vitro systems. We found that this molecule, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, inhibits cell fusion mediated by the viral spike glycoprotein, as well as activity of the viral helicase. Prophylactic or therapeutic administration of clofazimine in a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis led to reduced viral loads in the lung and viral shedding in faeces, and also alleviated the inflammation associated with viral infection. Combinations of clofazimine and remdesivir exhibited antiviral synergy in vitro and in vivo, and restricted viral shedding from the upper respiratory tract. Clofazimine, which is orally bioavailable and comparatively cheap to manufacture, is an attractive clinical candidate for the treatment of outpatients and-when combined with remdesivir-in therapy for hospitalized patients with COVID-19, particularly in contexts in which costs are an important factor or specialized medical facilities are limited. Our data provide evidence that clofazimine may have a role in the control of the current pandemic of COVID-19 and-possibly more importantly-in dealing with coronavirus diseases that may emerge in the future.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Clofazimine/pharmacology , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alanine/therapeutic use , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacokinetics , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Biological Availability , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Clofazimine/pharmacokinetics , Clofazimine/therapeutic use , Coronavirus/growth & development , Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Cricetinae , DNA Helicases/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Synergism , Female , Humans , Life Cycle Stages/drug effects , Male , Mesocricetus , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Transcription, Genetic/drug effects , Transcription, Genetic/genetics
16.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 10(1): 291-304, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1062822

ABSTRACT

Effective treatments for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are urgently needed. Dexamethasone has been shown to confer survival benefits to certain groups of hospitalized patients, but whether glucocorticoids such as dexamethasone and methylprednisolone should be used together with antivirals to prevent a boost of SARS-CoV-2 replication remains to be determined. Here, we show the beneficial effect of methylprednisolone alone and in combination with remdesivir in the hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Treatment with methylprednisolone boosted RNA replication of SARS-CoV-2 but suppressed viral induction of proinflammatory cytokines in human monocyte-derived macrophages. Although methylprednisolone monotherapy alleviated body weight loss as well as nasal and pulmonary inflammation, viral loads increased and antibody response against the receptor-binding domain of spike protein attenuated. In contrast, a combination of methylprednisolone with remdesivir not only prevented body weight loss and inflammation, but also dampened viral protein expression and viral loads. In addition, the suppressive effect of methylprednisolone on antibody response was alleviated in the presence of remdesivir. Thus, combinational anti-inflammatory and antiviral therapy might be an effective, safer and more versatile treatment option for COVID-19. These data support testing of the efficacy of a combination of methylprednisolone and remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 in randomized controlled clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Methylprednisolone/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Alanine/pharmacology , Alanine/therapeutic use , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Cytokines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Therapy, Combination , Female , Humans , Macrophages/immunology , Macrophages/virology , Male , Mesocricetus , Methylprednisolone/pharmacology , RNA, Viral , Respiratory System/pathology , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Load/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
17.
Res Sq ; 2020 Oct 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-869425

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic is the third zoonotic coronavirus (CoV) outbreak of the century after severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) since 2012. Treatment options for CoVs are largely lacking. Here, we show that clofazimine, an anti-leprosy drug with a favorable safety and pharmacokinetics profile, possesses pan-coronaviral inhibitory activity, and can antagonize SARS-CoV-2 replication in multiple in vitro systems, including the human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and ex vivo lung cultures. The FDA-approved molecule was found to inhibit multiple steps of viral replication, suggesting multiple underlying antiviral mechanisms. In a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, prophylactic or therapeutic administration of clofazimine significantly reduced viral load in the lung and fecal viral shedding, and also prevented cytokine storm associated with viral infection. Additionally, clofazimine exhibited synergy when administered with remdesivir. Since clofazimine is orally bioavailable and has a comparatively low manufacturing cost, it is an attractive clinical candidate for outpatient treatment and remdesivir-based combinatorial therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, particularly in developing countries. Taken together, our data provide evidence that clofazimine may have a role in the control of the current pandemic SARS-CoV-2, endemic MERS-CoV in the Middle East, and, possibly most importantly, emerging CoVs of the future.

18.
Pharmacol Res ; 159: 104960, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-401828

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with a crude case fatality rate of about 0.5-10 % depending on locality. A few clinically approved drugs, such as remdesivir, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, nafamostat, camostat, and ivermectin, exhibited anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in vitro and/or in a small number of patients. However, their clinical use may be limited by anti-SARS-CoV-2 50 % maximal effective concentrations (EC50) that exceeded their achievable peak serum concentrations (Cmax), side effects, and/or availability. To find more immediately available COVID-19 antivirals, we established a two-tier drug screening system that combines SARS-CoV-2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and cell viability assay, and applied it to screen a library consisting 1528 FDA-approved drugs. Cetilistat (anti-pancreatic lipase), diiodohydroxyquinoline (anti-parasitic), abiraterone acetate (synthetic androstane steroid), and bexarotene (antineoplastic retinoid) exhibited potent in vitro anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity (EC50 1.13-2.01 µM). Bexarotene demonstrated the highest Cmax:EC50 ratio (1.69) which was higher than those of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin. These results demonstrated the efficacy of the two-tier screening system and identified potential COVID-19 treatments which can achieve effective levels if given by inhalation or systemically depending on their pharmacokinetics.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Androstenes/pharmacology , Animals , Benzoxazines/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Bexarotene/pharmacology , COVID-19 , Caco-2 Cells , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral/drug effects , Databases, Pharmaceutical , Drug Approval , Drug Repositioning , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Iodoquinol/pharmacology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , United States Food and Drug Administration , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
19.
Clin Infect Dis ; 71(9): 2428-2446, 2020 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-15867

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A physiological small-animal model that resembles COVID-19 with low mortality is lacking. METHODS: Molecular docking on the binding between angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) of common laboratory mammals and the receptor-binding domain of the surface spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 suggested that the golden Syrian hamster is an option. Virus challenge, contact transmission, and passive immunoprophylaxis studies were performed. Serial organ tissues and blood were harvested for histopathology, viral load and titer, chemokine/cytokine level, and neutralizing antibody titer. RESULTS: The Syrian hamster could be consistently infected by SARS-CoV-2. Maximal clinical signs of rapid breathing, weight loss, histopathological changes from the initial exudative phase of diffuse alveolar damage with extensive apoptosis to the later proliferative phase of tissue repair, airway and intestinal involvement with viral nucleocapsid protein expression, high lung viral load, and spleen and lymphoid atrophy associated with marked chemokine/cytokine activation were observed within the first week of virus challenge. The mean lung virus titer was between 105 and 107 TCID50/g. Challenged index hamsters consistently infected naive contact hamsters housed within the same cages, resulting in similar pathology but not weight loss. All infected hamsters recovered and developed mean serum neutralizing antibody titers ≥1:427 14 days postchallenge. Immunoprophylaxis with early convalescent serum achieved significant decrease in lung viral load but not in lung pathology. No consistent nonsynonymous adaptive mutation of the spike was found in viruses isolated from the infected hamsters. CONCLUSIONS: Besides satisfying Koch's postulates, this readily available hamster model is an important tool for studying transmission, pathogenesis, treatment, and vaccination against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Lung/virology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Viral Load
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