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Thapsigargin for COVID-19

Thapsigargin has been reported as potentially beneficial for treatment of COVID-19. We have not reviewed these studies. See all other treatments.
Al Otaibi et al., Thapsigargin and Tunicamycin Block SARS-CoV-2 Entry into Host Cells via Differential Modulation of Unfolded Protein Response (UPR), AKT Signaling, and Apoptosis, Cells, doi:10.3390/cells13090769
Background: SARS-Co-V2 infection can induce ER stress-associated activation of unfolded protein response (UPR) in host cells, which may contribute to the pathogenesis of COVID-19. To understand the complex interplay between SARS-Co-V2 infection and UPR signaling, we examined the effects of acute pre-existing ER stress on SARS-Co-V2 infectivity. Methods: Huh-7 cells were treated with Tunicamycin (TUN) and Thapsigargin (THA) prior to SARS-CoV-2pp transduction (48 h p.i.) to induce ER stress. Pseudo-typed particles (SARS-CoV-2pp) entry into host cells was measured by Bright GloTM luciferase assay. Cell viability was assessed by cell titer Glo® luminescent assay. The mRNA and protein expression was evaluated by RT-qPCR and Western Blot. Results: TUN (5 µg/mL) and THA (1 µM) efficiently inhibited the entry of SARS-CoV-2pp into host cells without any cytotoxic effect. TUN and THA’s attenuation of virus entry was associated with differential modulation of ACE2 expression. Both TUN and THA significantly reduced the expression of stress-inducible ER chaperone GRP78/BiP in transduced cells. In contrast, the IRE1-XBP1s and PERK-eIF2α-ATF4-CHOP signaling pathways were downregulated with THA treatment, but not TUN in transduced cells. Insulin-mediated glucose uptake and phosphorylation of Ser307 IRS-1 and downstream p-AKT were enhanced with THA in transduced cells. Furthermore, TUN and THA differentially affected lipid metabolism and apoptotic signaling pathways. Conclusions: These findings suggest that short-term pre-existing ER stress prior to virus infection induces a specific UPR response in host cells capable of counteracting stress-inducible elements signaling, thereby depriving SARS-Co-V2 of essential components for entry and replication. Pharmacological manipulation of ER stress in host cells might provide new therapeutic strategies to alleviate SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Zeng et al., Calpain-2 mediates SARS-CoV-2 entry via regulating ACE2 levels, mBio, doi:10.1128/mbio.02287-23
ABSTRACT Since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, much effort has been dedicated to identifying effective antivirals against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A number of calpain inhibitors show excellent antiviral activities against SARS-CoV-2 by targeting the viral main protease (M pro ), which plays an essential role in processing viral polyproteins. In this study, we found that calpain inhibitors potently inhibited the infection of a chimeric vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein but not M pro . In contrast, calpain inhibitors did not exhibit antiviral activities toward the wild-type VSV with its native glycoprotein. Genetic knockout of calpain-2 by CRISPR/Cas9 conferred resistance of the host cells to the chimeric VSV-SARS-CoV-2 virus and a clinical isolate of wild-type SARS-CoV-2. Mechanistically, calpain-2 facilitates SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-mediated cell attachment by positively regulating the cell surface levels of ACE2. These results highlight an M pro -independent pathway targeted by calpain inhibitors for efficient viral inhibition. We also identify calpain-2 as a novel host factor and a potential therapeutic target responsible for SARS-CoV-2 infection at the entry step. IMPORTANCE Many efforts in small-molecule screens have been made to counter SARS-CoV-2 infection by targeting the viral main protease, the major element that processes viral proteins after translation. Here, we discovered that calpain inhibitors further block SARS-CoV-2 infection in a main protease-independent manner. We identified the host cysteine protease calpain-2 as an important positive regulator of the cell surface levels of SARS-CoV-2 cellular receptor ACE2 and, thus, a facilitator of viral infection. By either pharmacological inhibition or genetic knockout of calpain-2, the SARS-CoV-2 binding to host cells is blocked and viral infection is decreased. Our findings highlight a novel mechanism of ACE2 regulation, which presents a potential new therapeutic target. Since calpain inhibitors also potently interfere with the viral main protease, our data also provide a mechanistic understanding of the potential use of calpain inhibitors as dual inhibitors (entry and replication) in the clinical setting of COVID-19 diseases. Our findings bring mechanistic insights into the cellular process of SARS-CoV-2 entry and offer a novel explanation to the mechanism of activities of calpain inhibitors.
Ko et al., Screening of FDA-approved drugs using a MERS-CoV clinical isolate from South Korea identifies potential therapeutic options for COVID-19, bioRxiv, doi:10.1101/2020.02.25.965582
AbstractTherapeutic options for coronavirus remain limited. To address this unmet medical need, we screened 5,406 compounds, including United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- approved drugs and bioactives, for activity against a South Korean Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) clinical isolate. Among 221 identified hits, 54 had therapeutic indexes (TI) greater than 6. Time-of-addition studies with selected drugs demonstrated eight and four FDA-approved drugs acted on the early and late stages of the viral life cycle, respectively. Confirmed hits included several cardiotonic agents (TI>100), atovaquone, an anti-malarial (TI>34), and ciclosonide, an inhalable corticosteroid (TI>6). Furthermore, utilizing the severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2), combinations of remedesivir with selected dugs were evaluated, which identified ciclosonide and nelfinavir to be additive and synergistic drugs in vitro, respectively. Together, we screened FDA-approved drugs using patient-derived MERS-CoV, triaged hits to discriminate between early and late viral life cycle inhibitors, confirmed selected drugs using SARS-CoV-2, and demonstrated the added value of selected medications in combination with remedesivir. Our results identify potential therapeutic options for MERS-CoV infections, and provide a basis to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other coronavirus-related illnesses.
England et al., Plants as Biofactories for Therapeutic Proteins and Antiviral Compounds to Combat COVID-19, Life, doi:10.3390/life13030617
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) had a profound impact on the world’s health and economy. Although the end of the pandemic may come in 2023, it is generally believed that the virus will not be completely eradicated. Most likely, the disease will become an endemicity. The rapid development of vaccines of different types (mRNA, subunit protein, inactivated virus, etc.) and some other antiviral drugs (Remdesivir, Olumiant, Paxlovid, etc.) has provided effectiveness in reducing COVID-19’s impact worldwide. However, the circulating SARS-CoV-2 virus has been constantly mutating with the emergence of multiple variants, which makes control of COVID-19 difficult. There is still a pressing need for developing more effective antiviral drugs to fight against the disease. Plants have provided a promising production platform for both bioactive chemical compounds (small molecules) and recombinant therapeutics (big molecules). Plants naturally produce a diverse range of bioactive compounds as secondary metabolites, such as alkaloids, terpenoids/terpenes and polyphenols, which are a rich source of countless antiviral compounds. Plants can also be genetically engineered to produce valuable recombinant therapeutics. This molecular farming in plants has an unprecedented opportunity for developing vaccines, antibodies, and other biologics for pandemic diseases because of its potential advantages, such as low cost, safety, and high production volume. This review summarizes the latest advancements in plant-derived drugs used to combat COVID-19 and discusses the prospects and challenges of the plant-based production platform for antiviral agents.
Sperry et al., Target-agnostic drug prediction integrated with medical record analysis uncovers differential associations of statins with increased survival in COVID-19 patients, PLOS Computational Biology, doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1011050 (Table 2)
Drug repurposing requires distinguishing established drug class targets from novel molecule-specific mechanisms and rapidly derisking their therapeutic potential in a time-critical manner, particularly in a pandemic scenario. In response to the challenge to rapidly identify treatment options for COVID-19, several studies reported that statins, as a drug class, reduce mortality in these patients. However, it is unknown if different statins exhibit consistent function or may have varying therapeutic benefit. A Bayesian network tool was used to predict drugs that shift the host transcriptomic response to SARS-CoV-2 infection towards a healthy state. Drugs were predicted using 14 RNA-sequencing datasets from 72 autopsy tissues and 465 COVID-19 patient samples or from cultured human cells and organoids infected with SARS-CoV-2. Top drug predictions included statins, which were then assessed using electronic medical records containing over 4,000 COVID-19 patients on statins to determine mortality risk in patients prescribed specific statins versus untreated matched controls. The same drugs were tested in Vero E6 cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 and human endothelial cells infected with a related OC43 coronavirus. Simvastatin was among the most highly predicted compounds (14/14 datasets) and five other statins, including atorvastatin, were predicted to be active in > 50% of analyses. Analysis of the clinical database revealed that reduced mortality risk was only observed in COVID-19 patients prescribed a subset of statins, including simvastatin and atorvastatin. In vitro testing of SARS-CoV-2 infected cells revealed simvastatin to be a potent direct inhibitor whereas most other statins were less effective. Simvastatin also inhibited OC43 infection and reduced cytokine production in endothelial cells. Statins may differ in their ability to sustain the lives of COVID-19 patients despite having a shared drug target and lipid-modifying mechanism of action. These findings highlight the value of target-agnostic drug prediction coupled with patient databases to identify and clinically evaluate non-obvious mechanisms and derisk and accelerate drug repurposing opportunities.
Please send us corrections, updates, or comments. c19early involves the extraction of 100,000+ datapoints from thousands of papers. Community updates help ensure high accuracy. Treatments and other interventions are complementary. All practical, effective, and safe means should be used based on risk/benefit analysis. No treatment or intervention is 100% available and effective for all current and future variants. We do not provide medical advice. Before taking any medication, consult a qualified physician who can provide personalized advice and details of risks and benefits based on your medical history and situation. FLCCC and WCH provide treatment protocols.
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