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Viruses ; 13(9)2021 09 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411086


Our therapeutic arsenal against viruses is very limited and the current pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 highlights the critical need for effective antivirals against emerging coronaviruses. Cellular assays allowing a precise quantification of viral replication in high-throughput experimental settings are essential to the screening of chemical libraries and the selection of best antiviral chemical structures. To develop a reporting system for SARS-CoV-2 infection, we generated cell lines expressing a firefly luciferase maintained in an inactive form by a consensus cleavage site for the viral protease 3CLPro of coronaviruses, so that the luminescent biosensor is turned on upon 3CLPro expression or SARS-CoV-2 infection. This cellular assay was used to screen a metabolism-oriented library of 492 compounds to identify metabolic vulnerabilities of coronaviruses for developing innovative therapeutic strategies. In agreement with recent reports, inhibitors of pyrimidine biosynthesis were found to prevent SARS-CoV-2 replication. Among the top hits, we also identified the NADPH oxidase (NOX) inhibitor Setanaxib. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of Setanaxib was further confirmed using ACE2-expressing human pulmonary cells Beas2B as well as human primary nasal epithelial cells. Altogether, these results validate our cell-based functional assay and the interest of screening libraries of different origins to identify inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 for drug repurposing or development.

Antiviral Agents/isolation & purification , Biosensing Techniques/methods , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Discovery , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Enzyme Activation , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Luciferases, Firefly/metabolism , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Pyrazolones/pharmacology , Pyridones/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects