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Microbiol Spectr ; 10(5): e0333122, 2022 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2053144


Three directly acting antivirals (DAAs) demonstrated substantial reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials. However, these agents did not completely prevent severe illness and are associated with cases of rebound illness and viral shedding. Combination regimens can enhance antiviral potency, reduce the emergence of drug-resistant variants, and lower the dose of each component in the combination. Concurrently targeting virus entry and virus replication offers opportunities to discover synergistic drug combinations. While combination antiviral drug treatments are standard for chronic RNA virus infections, no antiviral combination therapy has been approved for SARS-CoV-2. Here, we demonstrate that combining host-targeting antivirals (HTAs) that target TMPRSS2 and hence SARS-CoV-2 entry, with the DAA molnupiravir, which targets SARS-CoV-2 replication, synergistically suppresses SARS-CoV-2 infection in Calu-3 lung epithelial cells. Strong synergy was observed when molnupiravir, an oral drug, was combined with three TMPRSS2 (HTA) oral or inhaled inhibitors: camostat, avoralstat, or nafamostat. The combination of camostat plus molnupiravir was also effective against the beta and delta variants of concern. The pyrimidine biosynthesis inhibitor brequinar combined with molnupiravir also conferred robust synergistic inhibition. These HTA+DAA combinations had similar potency to the synergistic all-DAA combination of molnupiravir plus nirmatrelvir, the protease inhibitor found in paxlovid. Pharmacodynamic modeling allowed estimates of antiviral potency at all possible concentrations of each agent within plausible therapeutic ranges, suggesting possible in vivo efficacy. The triple combination of camostat, brequinar, and molnupiravir further increased antiviral potency. These findings support the development of HTA+DAA combinations for pandemic response and preparedness. IMPORTANCE Imagine a future viral pandemic where if you test positive for the new virus, you can quickly take some medicines at home for a few days so that you do not get too sick. To date, only single drugs have been approved for outpatient use against SARS-CoV-2, and we are learning that these have some limitations and may succumb to drug resistance. Here, we show that combinations of two oral drugs are better than the single ones in blocking SARS-CoV-2, and we use mathematical modeling to show that these drug combinations are likely to work in people. We also show that a combination of three oral drugs works even better at eradicating the virus. Our findings therefore bode well for the development of oral drug cocktails for at home use at the first sign of an infection by a coronavirus or other emerging viral pathogens.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Drug Combinations , Pyrimidines
Euro Surveill ; 26(16)2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1200054


SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) should not escape molecular surveillance. We investigated if SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen tests (RATs) could detect B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 VOCs in certain laboratory conditions. Infectious cell culture supernatants containing B.1.1.7, B.1.351 or non-VOC SARS-CoV-2 were respectively diluted both in DMEM and saliva. Dilutions were analysed with Roche, Siemens, Abbott, nal von minden and RapiGEN RATs. While further studies with appropriate real-life clinical samples are warranted, all RATs detected B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, generally comparable to non-VOC strain.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Germany , Humans