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Int J Mol Sci ; 22(6)2021 Mar 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143519


The development of effective antiviral drugs targeting the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is urgently needed to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We have previously studied the use of semi-synthetic derivatives of oxysterols, oxidized derivatives of cholesterol as drug candidates for the inhibition of cancer, fibrosis, and bone regeneration. In this study, we screened a panel of naturally occurring and semi-synthetic oxysterols for anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity using a cell culture infection assay. We show that the natural oxysterols, 7-ketocholesterol, 22(R)-hydroxycholesterol, 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol, and 27-hydroxycholesterol, substantially inhibited SARS-CoV-2 propagation in cultured cells. Among semi-synthetic oxysterols, Oxy210 and Oxy232 displayed more robust anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities, reducing viral replication more than 90% at 10 µM and 99% at 15 µM, respectively. When orally administered in mice, peak plasma concentrations of Oxy210 fell into a therapeutically relevant range (19 µM), based on the dose-dependent curve for antiviral activity in our cell-based assay. Mechanistic studies suggest that Oxy210 reduced replication of SARS-CoV-2 by disrupting the formation of double-membrane vesicles (DMVs); intracellular membrane compartments associated with viral replication. Our study warrants further evaluation of Oxy210 and Oxy232 as a safe and reliable oral medication, which could help protect vulnerable populations with increased risk of developing COVID-19.

Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Oxysterols/chemistry , Oxysterols/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Administration, Oral , Animals , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Mice , Nucleocapsid Proteins/drug effects , Oxysterols/administration & dosage , Oxysterols/pharmacokinetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells , Viral Replication Compartments/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects
Antiviral Res ; 186: 105012, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064809


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of COVID-19, a severe respiratory disease with varying clinical presentations and outcomes, and responsible for a major pandemic that started in early 2020. With no vaccines or effective antiviral treatments available, the quest for novel therapeutic solutions remains an urgent priority. Rocaglates, a class of plant-derived cyclopenta[b]benzofurans, exhibit broad-spectrum antiviral activity against multiple RNA viruses including coronaviruses. Specifically, rocaglates inhibit eukaryotic initiation factor 4A (eIF4A)-dependent mRNA translation initiation, resulting in strongly reduced viral RNA translation. Here, we assessed the antiviral activity of the synthetic rocaglate CR-31-B (-) against SARS-CoV-2 using both in vitro and ex vivo cell culture models. In Vero E6 cells, CR-31-B (-) inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication with an EC50 of ~1.8 nM. In primary human airway epithelial cells, CR-31-B (-) reduced viral titers to undetectable levels at a concentration of 100 nM. Reduced virus reproduction was accompanied by substantially reduced viral protein accumulation and replication/transcription complex formation. The data reveal a potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity by CR-31-B (-), corroborating previous results obtained for other coronaviruses and supporting the idea that rocaglates may be used in first-line antiviral intervention strategies against novel and emerging RNA virus outbreaks.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Benzofurans/pharmacology , Hydroxamic Acids/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Benzofurans/chemistry , Bronchi/virology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Eukaryotic Initiation Factor-4A/antagonists & inhibitors , Humans , Hydroxamic Acids/chemistry , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Viral Replication Compartments/drug effects