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Front Cardiovasc Med ; 8: 779073, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809356


Background: The fatal consequences of an infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 are not only caused by severe pneumonia, but also by thrombosis. Platelets are important regulators of thrombosis, but their involvement in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to determine their functional and biochemical profile in patients with COVID-19 in dependence of mortality within 5-days after hospitalization. Methods: The COVID-19-related platelet phenotype was examined by analyzing their basal activation state via integrin αIIbß3 activation using flow cytometry and the proteome by unbiased two-dimensional differential in-gel fluorescence electrophoresis. In total we monitored 98 surviving and 12 non-surviving COVID-19 patients over 5 days of hospital stay and compared them to healthy controls (n = 12). Results: Over the observation period the level of basal αIIbß3 activation on platelets from non-surviving COVID-19 patients decreased compared to survivors. In line with this finding, proteomic analysis revealed a decrease in the total amount of integrin αIIb (ITGA2B), a subunit of αIIbß3, in COVID-19 patients compared to healthy controls; the decline was even more pronounced for the non-survivors. Consumption of the fibrin-stabilizing factor coagulation factor XIIIA (F13A1) was higher in platelets from COVID-19 patients and tended to be higher in non-survivors; plasma concentrations of the latter also differed significantly. Depending on COVID-19 disease status and mortality, increased amounts of annexin A5 (ANXA5), eukaryotic initiation factor 4A-I (EIF4A1), and transaldolase (TALDO1) were found in the platelet proteome and also correlated with the nasopharyngeal viral load. Dysregulation of these proteins may play a role for virus replication. ANXA5 has also been identified as an autoantigen of the antiphospholipid syndrome, which is common in COVID-19 patients. Finally, the levels of two different protein disulfide isomerases, P4HB and PDIA6, which support thrombosis, were increased in the platelets of COVID-19 patients. Conclusion: Platelets from COVID-19 patients showed significant changes in the activation phenotype, in the processing of the final coagulation factor F13A1 and the phospholipid-binding protein ANXA5 compared to healthy subjects. Additionally, these results demonstrate specific alterations in platelets during COVID-19, which are significantly linked to fatal outcome.

Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572663


BACKGROUND: There is an urgent need for new antivirals with powerful therapeutic potential and tolerable side effects. METHODS: Here, we tested the antiviral properties of interferons (IFNs), alone and with other drugs in vitro. RESULTS: While IFNs alone were insufficient to completely abolish replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), IFNα, in combination with remdesivir, EIDD-2801, camostat, cycloheximide, or convalescent serum, proved to be more effective. Transcriptome and metabolomic analyses revealed that the IFNα-remdesivir combination suppressed SARS-CoV-2-mediated changes in Calu-3 cells and lung organoids, although it altered the homeostasis of uninfected cells and organoids. We also demonstrated that IFNα combinations with sofosbuvir, telaprevir, NITD008, ribavirin, pimodivir, or lamivudine were effective against HCV, HEV, FLuAV, or HIV at lower concentrations, compared to monotherapies. CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, our results indicated that IFNα can be combined with drugs that affect viral RNA transcription, protein synthesis, and processing to make synergistic combinations that can be attractive targets for further pre-clinical and clinical development against emerging and re-emerging viral infections.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Interferon-alpha/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Cell Line , Drug Synergism , Humans , Lung/drug effects , Lung/metabolism , Lung/virology , Metabolome/drug effects , Organoids , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , RNA, Viral/drug effects , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Transcriptome/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Viruses/classification , Viruses/drug effects
JHEP Rep ; 3(4): 100296, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1293968


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Chronic hepatitis B is an incurable disease. Addressing the unmet medical need for therapies has been hampered by a lack of suitable cell culture models to investigate the HBV life cycle in a single experimental setup. We sought to develop a platform suitable to investigate all aspects of the entire HBV life cycle. METHODS: HepG2-NTCPsec+ cells were inoculated with HBV. Supernatants of infected cells were transferred to naïve cells. Inhibition of infection was determined in primary and secondary infected cells by high-content imaging of viral and cellular factors. Novel antivirals were triaged in cells infected with cell culture- or patient-derived HBV and in stably virus replicating cells. HBV internalisation and target-based receptor binding assays were conducted. RESULTS: We developed an HBV platform, screened 2,102 drugs and bioactives, and identified 3 early and 38 late novel HBV life cycle inhibitors using infectious HBV genotype D. Two early inhibitors, pranlukast (EC50 4.3 µM; 50% cytotoxic concentration [CC50] >50 µM) and cytochalasin D (EC50 0.07 µM; CC50 >50 µM), and 2 late inhibitors, fludarabine (EC50 0.1 µM; CC50 13.4 µM) and dexmedetomidine (EC50 6.2 µM; CC50 >50 µM), were further investigated. Pranlukast inhibited HBV preS1 binding, whereas cytochalasin D prevented the internalisation of HBV. Fludarabine inhibited the secretion of HBV progeny DNA, whereas dexmedetomidine interfered with the infectivity of HBV progeny. Patient-derived HBV genotype C was efficiently inhibited by fludarabine (EC50 0.08 µM) and dexmedetomidine (EC50 8.7 µM). CONCLUSIONS: The newly developed high-content assay is suitable to screen large-scale drug libraries, enables monitoring of the entire HBV life cycle, and discriminates between inhibition of early and late viral life cycle events. LAY SUMMARY: HBV infection is an incurable, chronic disease with few available treatments. Addressing this unmet medical need has been hampered by a lack of suitable cell culture models to study the entire viral life cycle in a single experimental setup. We developed an image-based approach suitable to screen large numbers of drugs, using a cell line that can be infected by HBV and produces large amounts of virus particles. By transferring viral supernatants from these infected cells to uninfected target cells, we could monitor the entire viral life cycle. We used this system to screen drug libraries and identified novel anti-HBV inhibitors that potently inhibit HBV in various phases of its life cycle. This assay will be an important new tool to study the HBV life cycle and accelerate the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

Asia Pac J Public Health ; 33(2-3): 293-295, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1076096
Viruses ; 12(10):1178, 2020.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-875311


Combination therapies have become a standard for the treatment for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. They are advantageous over monotherapies due to better efficacy, reduced toxicity, as well as the ability to prevent the development of resistant viral strains and to treat viral co-infections. Here, we identify new synergistic combinations against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), echovirus 1 (EV1), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) in vitro. We observed synergistic activity of nelfinavir with convalescent serum and with purified neutralizing antibody 23G7 against SARS-CoV-2 in human lung epithelial Calu-3 cells. We also demonstrated synergistic activity of nelfinavir with EIDD-2801 or remdesivir in Calu-3 cells. In addition, we showed synergistic activity of vemurafenib with emetine, homoharringtonine, anisomycin, or cycloheximide against EV1 infection in human lung epithelial A549 cells. We also found that combinations of sofosbuvir with brequinar or niclosamide are synergistic against HCV infection in hepatocyte-derived Huh-7.5 cells, and that combinations of monensin with lamivudine or tenofovir are synergistic against HIV-1 infection in human cervical TZM-bl cells. These results indicate that synergy is achieved when a virus-directed antiviral is combined with another virus- or host-directed agent. Finally, we present an online resource that summarizes novel and known antiviral drug combinations and their developmental status.