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1.
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.

2.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(35): e2200960119, 2022 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1991765

ABSTRACT

Although increasing evidence confirms neuropsychiatric manifestations associated mainly with severe COVID-19 infection, long-term neuropsychiatric dysfunction (recently characterized as part of "long COVID-19" syndrome) has been frequently observed after mild infection. We show the spectrum of cerebral impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, ranging from long-term alterations in mildly infected individuals (orbitofrontal cortical atrophy, neurocognitive impairment, excessive fatigue and anxiety symptoms) to severe acute damage confirmed in brain tissue samples extracted from the orbitofrontal region (via endonasal transethmoidal access) from individuals who died of COVID-19. In an independent cohort of 26 individuals who died of COVID-19, we used histopathological signs of brain damage as a guide for possible SARS-CoV-2 brain infection and found that among the 5 individuals who exhibited those signs, all of them had genetic material of the virus in the brain. Brain tissue samples from these five patients also exhibited foci of SARS-CoV-2 infection and replication, particularly in astrocytes. Supporting the hypothesis of astrocyte infection, neural stem cell-derived human astrocytes in vitro are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection through a noncanonical mechanism that involves spike-NRP1 interaction. SARS-CoV-2-infected astrocytes manifested changes in energy metabolism and in key proteins and metabolites used to fuel neurons, as well as in the biogenesis of neurotransmitters. Moreover, human astrocyte infection elicits a secretory phenotype that reduces neuronal viability. Our data support the model in which SARS-CoV-2 reaches the brain, infects astrocytes, and consequently, leads to neuronal death or dysfunction. These deregulated processes could contribute to the structural and functional alterations seen in the brains of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Brain , COVID-19 , Central Nervous System Viral Diseases , SARS-CoV-2 , Astrocytes/pathology , Astrocytes/virology , Brain/pathology , Brain/virology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/pathology , Central Nervous System Viral Diseases/etiology , Central Nervous System Viral Diseases/pathology , Humans
3.
ACS Infect Dis ; 8(6): 1147-1160, 2022 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1860283

ABSTRACT

There are currently relatively few small-molecule antiviral drugs that are either approved or emergency-approved for use against severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). One of these is remdesivir, which was originally repurposed from its use against Ebola. We evaluated three molecules we had previously identified computationally with antiviral activity against Ebola and Marburg and identified pyronaridine, which inhibited the SARS-CoV-2 replication in A549-ACE2 cells. The in vivo efficacy of pyronaridine has now been assessed in a K18-hACE transgenic mouse model of COVID-19. Pyronaridine treatment demonstrated a statistically significant reduction of viral load in the lungs of SARS-CoV-2-infected mice, reducing lung pathology, which was also associated with significant reduction in the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokine and cell infiltration. Pyronaridine inhibited the viral PLpro activity in vitro (IC50 of 1.8 µM) without any effect on Mpro, indicating a possible molecular mechanism involved in its ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication. We have also generated several pyronaridine analogs to assist in understanding the structure activity relationship for PLpro inhibition. Our results indicate that pyronaridine is a potential therapeutic candidate for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/drug therapy , Mice , Naphthyridines , SARS-CoV-2
4.
J Mol Cell Biol ; 14(4)2022 08 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1806451

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with a hyperinflammatory state and lymphocytopenia, a hallmark that appears as both signature and prognosis of disease severity outcome. Although cytokine storm and a sustained inflammatory state are commonly associated with immune cell depletion, it is still unclear whether direct SARS-CoV-2 infection of immune cells could also play a role in this scenario by harboring viral replication. We found that monocytes, as well as both B and T lymphocytes, were susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro, accumulating double-stranded RNA consistent with viral RNA replication and ultimately leading to expressive T cell apoptosis. In addition, flow cytometry and immunofluorescence analysis revealed that SARS-CoV-2 was frequently detected in monocytes and B lymphocytes from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. The rates of SARS-CoV-2-infected monocytes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from COVID-19 patients increased over time from symptom onset, with SARS-CoV-2-positive monocytes, B cells, and CD4+ T lymphocytes also detected in postmortem lung tissue. These results indicated that SARS-CoV-2 infection of blood-circulating leukocytes in COVID-19 patients might have important implications for disease pathogenesis and progression, immune dysfunction, and virus spread within the host.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear , Monocytes
6.
Front Neurosci ; 15: 674576, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533688

ABSTRACT

Oropouche virus (OROV) is an emerging arbovirus in South and Central Americas with high spreading potential. OROV infection has been associated with neurological complications and OROV genomic RNA has been detected in cerebrospinal fluid from patients, suggesting its neuroinvasive potential. Motivated by these findings, neurotropism and neuropathogenesis of OROV have been investigated in vivo in murine models, which do not fully recapitulate the complexity of the human brain. Here we have used slice cultures from adult human brains to investigate whether OROV is capable of infecting mature human neural cells in a context of preserved neural connections and brain cytoarchitecture. Our results demonstrate that human neural cells can be infected ex vivo by OROV and support the production of infectious viral particles. Moreover, OROV infection led to the release of the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and diminished cell viability 48 h post-infection, indicating that OROV triggers an inflammatory response and tissue damage. Although OROV-positive neurons were observed, microglia were the most abundant central nervous system (CNS) cell type infected by OROV, suggesting that they play an important role in the response to CNS infection by OROV in the adult human brain. Importantly, we found no OROV-infected astrocytes. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first direct demonstration of OROV infection in human brain cells. Combined with previous data from murine models and case reports of OROV genome detection in cerebrospinal fluid from patients, our data shed light on OROV neuropathogenesis and help raising awareness about acute and possibly chronic consequences of OROV infection in the human brain.

7.
Blood ; 138(25): 2702-2713, 2021 12 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1365304

ABSTRACT

Multiple organ dysfunction is the most severe outcome of sepsis progression and is highly correlated with a worse prognosis. Excessive neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are critical players in the development of organ failure during sepsis. Therefore, interventions targeting NET release would likely effectively prevent NET-based organ injury associated with this disease. Herein, we demonstrate that the pore-forming protein gasdermin D (GSDMD) is active in neutrophils from septic humans and mice and plays a crucial role in NET release. Inhibition of GSDMD with disulfiram or genic deletion abrogated NET formation, reducing multiple organ dysfunction and sepsis lethality. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that during sepsis, activation of the caspase-11/GSDMD pathway controls NET release by neutrophils during sepsis. In summary, our findings uncover a novel therapeutic use for disulfiram and suggest that GSDMD is a therapeutic target to improve sepsis treatment.


Subject(s)
Extracellular Traps/genetics , Gene Deletion , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/genetics , Multiple Organ Failure/genetics , Phosphate-Binding Proteins/genetics , Sepsis/genetics , Acetaldehyde Dehydrogenase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Adoptive Transfer , Aged , Animals , Cells, Cultured , Disulfiram/therapeutic use , Female , Humans , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Middle Aged , Multiple Organ Failure/pathology , Multiple Organ Failure/therapy , Phosphate-Binding Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Sepsis/pathology , Sepsis/therapy
8.
J Hazard Mater ; 419: 126463, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284211

ABSTRACT

The Spike protein (S protein) is a critical component in the infection of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The objective of this work was to evaluate whether peptides from S protein could cause negative impact in the aquatic animals. The aquatic toxicity of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein peptides derivatives has been evaluated in tadpoles (n = 50 tadpoles/5 replicates of 10 animals) from species Physalaemus cuvieri (Leptodactylidae). After synthesis, purification, and characterization of peptides (PSDP2001, PSDP2002, PSDP2003) an aquatic contamination has been simulated with these peptides during 24 h of exposure in two concentrations (100 and 500 ng/mL). The control group ("C") was composed of tadpoles kept in polyethylene containers containing de-chlorinated water. Oxidative stress, antioxidant biomarkers and AChE activity were assessed. In both concentrations, PSPD2002 and PSPD2003 increased catalase and superoxide dismutase antioxidants enzymes activities, as well as oxidative stress (nitrite levels, hydrogen peroxide and reactive oxygen species). All three peptides also increased acetylcholinesterase activity in the highest concentration. These peptides showed molecular interactions in silico with acetylcholinesterase and antioxidant enzymes. Aquatic particle contamination of SARS-CoV-2 has cholinesterasic effect in P. cuvieri tadpoles. These findings indicate that the COVID-19 can constitute environmental impact or biological damage potential.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Anura , Humans , Larva , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
9.
RMD Open ; 7(1)2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066938

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether the addition of colchicine to standard treatment for COVID-19 results in better outcomes. DESIGN: We present the results of a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial of colchicine for the treatment of moderate to severe COVID-19, with 75 patients allocated 1:1 from 11 April to 30 August 2020. Colchicine regimen was 0.5 mg thrice daily for 5 days, then 0.5 mg twice daily for 5 days. The primary endpoints were the need for supplemental oxygen, time of hospitalisation, need for admission and length of stay in intensive care unit and death rate. RESULTS: Seventy-two patients (36 for placebo and 36 for colchicine) completed the study. Median (and IQR) time of need for supplemental oxygen was 4.0 (2.0-6.0) days for the colchicine group and 6.5 (4.0-9.0) days for the placebo group (p<0.001). Median (IQR) time of hospitalisation was 7.0 (5.0-9.0) days for the colchicine group and 9.0 (7.0-12.0) days for the placebo group (p=0.003). At day 2, 67% versus 86% of patients maintained the need for supplemental oxygen, while at day 7, the values were 9% versus 42%, in the colchicine and the placebo groups, respectively (log rank; p=0.001). Two patients died, both in placebo group. Diarrhoea was more frequent in the colchicine group (p=0.26). CONCLUSION: Colchicine reduced the length of both, supplemental oxygen therapy and hospitalisation. The drug was safe and well tolerated. Once death was an uncommon event, it is not possible to ensure that colchicine reduced mortality of COVID-19. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: RBR-8jyhxh.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Colchicine/administration & dosage , Length of Stay , Oxygen Inhalation Therapy , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Colchicine/adverse effects , Diarrhea/chemically induced , Double-Blind Method , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , Middle Aged , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome
10.
J Exp Med ; 218(3)2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-968998

ABSTRACT

Severe cases of COVID-19 are characterized by a strong inflammatory process that may ultimately lead to organ failure and patient death. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a molecular platform that promotes inflammation via cleavage and activation of key inflammatory molecules including active caspase-1 (Casp1p20), IL-1ß, and IL-18. Although participation of the inflammasome in COVID-19 has been highly speculated, the inflammasome activation and participation in the outcome of the disease are unknown. Here we demonstrate that the NLRP3 inflammasome is activated in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and is active in COVID-19 patients. Studying moderate and severe COVID-19 patients, we found active NLRP3 inflammasome in PBMCs and tissues of postmortem patients upon autopsy. Inflammasome-derived products such as Casp1p20 and IL-18 in the sera correlated with the markers of COVID-19 severity, including IL-6 and LDH. Moreover, higher levels of IL-18 and Casp1p20 are associated with disease severity and poor clinical outcome. Our results suggest that inflammasomes participate in the pathophysiology of the disease, indicating that these platforms might be a marker of disease severity and a potential therapeutic target for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Inflammasomes/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severity of Illness Index , Apoptosis , Comorbidity , Cytokines/biosynthesis , Humans , Lung/pathology , Monocytes/metabolism , NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein/metabolism , Postmortem Changes , Treatment Outcome
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