Broad antivirals kill SARS-CoV-2, the MERS virus, and other coronaviruses in cells and mice

August 03, 2020

A team of scientists has engineered antiviral compounds that can kill several types of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The compounds neutralized viruses in human airway cells and improved survival in mice infected with a deadly, closely related virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The new compounds' broad activity suggest that they should be further developed as treatments for infections with emerging coronaviruses, which currently have few effective antivirals and no approved vaccines. Although many coronaviruses cause only mild cases of the common cold, emerging species such as SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV (the cause of the 2003 SARS outbreak) pose a serious risk to global health and security. The spread of SARS-CoV-2 has caused one of the most dangerous pandemics in modern history, and infections with its cousin MERS-CoV have a fatality rate of almost 35%, according to the World Health Organization. In previous work, Athri Rathnayake and colleagues had developed a series of antiviral compounds named 3C-like protease inhibitors, which target an enzyme essential to the replication of coronaviruses. Here, they tested several 3C-like protease inhibitors in cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, or MERS-CoV. One of the compounds, named 6e, showed strong activity against SARS-CoV-2 and inhibited viral replication by tenfold in cultured human airway epithelial cells taken from infected donors. Another potent compound named 6j boosted the odds of survival in mice infected with MERS-CoV, slashed the amount of virus in the lungs, and prevented dangerous complications like lung edema. Rathnayake et al. plan to conduct further research to see whether one of their compounds could effectively treat both MERS and COVID-19 in humans.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Virus Articles from Brightsurf:

Researchers develop virus live stream to study virus infection
Researchers from the Hubrecht Institute and Utrecht University developed an advanced technique that makes it possible to monitor a virus infection live.

Will the COVID-19 virus become endemic?
A new article in the journal Science by Columbia Mailman School researchers Jeffrey Shaman and Marta Galanti explores the potential for the COVID-19 virus to become endemic, a regular feature producing recurring outbreaks in humans.

Smart virus
HSE University researchers have found microRNA molecules that are potentially capable of repressing the replication of human coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19 - The virus and the vasculature
In severe cases of COVID-19, the infection can lead to obstruction of the blood vessels in the lung, heart and kidneys.

Lab-made virus mimics COVID-19 virus
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have created a virus in the lab that infects cells and interacts with antibodies just like the COVID-19 virus, but lacks the ability to cause severe disease.

Virus prevalence associated with habitat
Levels of virus infection in lobsters seem to be related to habitat and other species, new studies of Caribbean marine protected areas have shown.

Herpes virus decoded
The genome of the herpes simplex virus 1 was decoded using new methods.

A new biosensor for the COVID-19 virus
A team of researchers from Empa, ETH Zurich and Zurich University Hospital has succeeded in developing a novel sensor for detecting the new coronavirus.

How at risk are you of getting a virus on an airplane?
New 'CALM' model on passenger movement developed using Frontera supercomputer.

Virus multiplication in 3D
Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies.

Read More: Virus News and Virus Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to