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Biomolecules ; 12(11)2022 11 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2109923


BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 has undergone mutations, yielding clinically relevant variants. HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesized that in SARS-CoV-2, two highly conserved Orf3a and E channels directly related to the virus replication were a target for the detection and inhibition of the viral replication, independent of the variant, using FDA-approved ion channel modulators. METHODS: A combination of a fluorescence potassium ion assay with channel modulators was developed to detect SARS-CoV-2 Orf3a/E channel activity. Two FDA-approved drugs, amantadine (an antiviral) and amitriptyline (an antidepressant), which are ion channel blockers, were tested as to whether they inhibited Orf3a/E channel activity in isolated virus variants and in nasal swab samples from COVID-19 patients. The variants were confirmed by PCR sequencing. RESULTS: In isolated SARS-CoV-2 Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants, the channel activity of Orf3a/E was detected and inhibited by emodin and gliclazide (IC50 = 0.42 mM). In the Delta swab samples, amitriptyline and amantadine inhibited the channel activity of viral proteins, with IC50 values of 0.73 mM and 1.11 mM, respectively. In the Omicron swab samples, amitriptyline inhibited the channel activity, with an IC50 of 0.76 mM. CONCLUSIONS: We developed an efficient method to screen FDA-approved ion channel modulators that could be repurposed to detect and inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viral replication, independent of variants.

COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Ion Channels , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Amantadine/pharmacology , Amitriptyline/pharmacology , Ion Channels/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning
Cell Rep Med ; 1(8): 100142, 2020 11 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894264


The acid sphingomyelinase/ceramide system plays an important role in bacterial and viral infections. Here, we report that either pharmacological inhibition of acid sphingomyelinase with amitriptyline, imipramine, fluoxetine, sertraline, escitalopram, or maprotiline or genetic downregulation of the enzyme prevents infection of cultured cells or freshy isolated human nasal epithelial cells with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) pseudoviral particles (pp-VSV) presenting SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (pp-VSV-SARS-CoV-2 spike), a bona fide system mimicking SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infection activates acid sphingomyelinase and triggers a release of ceramide on the cell surface. Neutralization or consumption of surface ceramide reduces infection with pp-VSV-SARS-CoV-2 spike. Treating volunteers with a low dose of amitriptyline prevents infection of freshly isolated nasal epithelial cells with pp-VSV-SARS-CoV-2 spike. The data justify clinical studies investigating whether amitriptyline, a safe drug used clinically for almost 60 years, or other antidepressants that functionally block acid sphingomyelinase prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Epithelial Cells/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase/antagonists & inhibitors , Amitriptyline/pharmacology , Animals , Antidepressive Agents/pharmacology , Ceramides/antagonists & inhibitors , Ceramides/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Nasal Mucosa/drug effects , Nasal Mucosa/metabolism , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Neutral Ceramidase/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/genetics