Impairment of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein maturation and fusion activity by nitazoxanide: an effect independent of spike variants emergence
et al., Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences,
Impairment of SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein maturation and fusion activity by nitazoxanide: an effect..
, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, doi:10.1007/s00018-022-04246-w (In Vitro)
In Vitro study showing that the host-directed broad-spectrum antiviral drug nitazoxanide may be effective for COVID-19 by hampering spike protein maturation and fusion activity. Authors note efficacy across alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants.
Riccio et al., 7 Apr 2022, peer-reviewed, 6 authors.
In Vitro studies are an important part of preclinical research, however results may be very different in vivo.
Abstract: Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (2022) 79:227
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Impairment of SARS‑CoV‑2 spike glycoprotein maturation and fusion
activity by nitazoxanide: an effect independent of spike variants
Anna Riccio1 · Silvia Santopolo1 · Antonio Rossi2 · Sara Piacentini1 · Jean‑Francois Rossignol3 ·
M. Gabriella Santoro1,2
Received: 5 January 2022 / Revised: 3 March 2022 / Accepted: 11 March 2022 / Published online: 7 April 2022
© The Author(s) 2022, corrected publication 2022
SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, has caused an unprecedented global health crisis. The SARS-CoV-2 spike,
a surface-anchored trimeric class-I fusion glycoprotein essential for viral entry, represents a key target for developing vaccines and therapeutics capable of blocking virus invasion. The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 spike variants that facilitate virus
spread and may affect vaccine efficacy highlights the need to identify novel antiviral strategies for COVID-19 therapy. Here,
we demonstrate that nitazoxanide, an antiprotozoal agent with recognized broad-spectrum antiviral activity, interferes with
SARS-CoV-2 spike maturation, hampering its terminal glycosylation at an endoglycosidase H-sensitive stage. Engineering
multiple SARS-CoV-2 variant-pseudoviruses and utilizing quantitative cell–cell fusion assays, we show that nitazoxanideinduced spike modifications hinder progeny virion infectivity as well as spike-driven pulmonary cell–cell fusion, a critical
feature of COVID-19 pathology. Nitazoxanide, being equally effective against the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan-spike and
different emerging variants, including the Delta variant of concern, may represent a useful tool in the fight against COVID19 infections.
Keywords Broad-spectrum antiviral · COVID-19 · Nitazoxanide · SARS-CoV-2 variants · SARS-CoV-2 spike · Syncytia
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