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Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 414, 2021 12 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556321

ABSTRACT

Azvudine (FNC) is a nucleoside analog that inhibits HIV-1 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). Recently, we discovered FNC an agent against SARS-CoV-2, and have taken it into Phase III trial for COVID-19 patients. FNC monophosphate analog inhibited SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-OC43 coronavirus with an EC50 between 1.2 and 4.3 µM, depending on viruses or cells, and selective index (SI) in 15-83 range. Oral administration of FNC in rats revealed a substantial thymus-homing feature, with FNC triphosphate (the active form) concentrated in the thymus and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Treating SARS-CoV-2 infected rhesus macaques with FNC (0.07 mg/kg, qd, orally) reduced viral load, recuperated the thymus, improved lymphocyte profiles, alleviated inflammation and organ damage, and lessened ground-glass opacities in chest X-ray. Single-cell sequencing suggested the promotion of thymus function by FNC. A randomized, single-arm clinical trial of FNC on compassionate use (n = 31) showed that oral FNC (5 mg, qd) cured all COVID-19 patients, with 100% viral ribonucleic acid negative conversion in 3.29 ± 2.22 days (range: 1-9 days) and 100% hospital discharge rate in 9.00 ± 4.93 days (range: 2-25 days). The side-effect of FNC is minor and transient dizziness and nausea in 16.12% (5/31) patients. Thus, FNC might cure COVID-19 through its anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity concentrated in the thymus, followed by promoted immunity.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Azides/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , Deoxycytidine/analogs & derivatives , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Thymus Gland , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Animals , Coronavirus OC43, Human/metabolism , Deoxycytidine/administration & dosage , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Rats , Thymus Gland/metabolism , Thymus Gland/virology
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