Journal: Science Advances
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Antiviral drug blocks coronavirus infection in mice
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A drug with broad-spectrum activity against multiple coronaviruses could help the medical community tackle COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.
A team co-led by scientists from ShanghaiTech University designed a peptide drug that prevents coronavirus infection by binding to — and inhibiting — part of the spike protein used by the viruses to enter human cells.
In cell experiments, the drug successfully blocked infection of five human coronaviruses, including those responsible for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002–2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) illness first reported in 2012. It also worked against three SARS-like coronaviruses found in bats, the source of many viruses that make the leap to humans.
Intranasal administration to mice, both before and after viral challenge, protected against MERS infection, highlighting the drug’s potential prophylactic and therapeutic effects against the latest coronavirus scare.
- Science Advances 5, eaav4580 (2019). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav4580