Drug aprotinin may inhibit entry, replication of novel coronavirus in host cells  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Researchers across the world are working tirelessly to find effective ways to prevent, treat COVID-19
- Various drugs have been repurposed and tested for treatment of COVID-19
- Researchers now suggest that drug aprotinin may help in inhibiting replication of SARS-CoV-2 in host cells
New Delhi: The novel coronavirus infection has been spreading around the world for about a year now. With no vaccine yet approved for public use against the virus, and no specific cure for the viral disease, researchers and medical professionals around the world are working tirelessly to find both. While a few vaccine candidates from around the world are in final stages of trials and have also proven effective, researchers continue to look at repurposing medicines and drugs used for other infections and diseases as potential treatments for COVID-19.
Various drugs have been in the news for treatment, and prevention of COVID-19 in humans. Some common names that have come to light include hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and dexamethasone. Another drug that goes by the name aprotinin has now been found to be effective in the prevention of replication of SARS-CoV-2 in host cells.
Aprotinin inhibits virus replication by preventing SARS-CoV2 entry into host cells
According to researchers from the Goethe University, the University of Kent and the Hannover Medical School, the protease inhibitor aprotinin can inhibit virus replication by preventing SARS-CoV2 entry into host cells. Aprotinin also appears to compensate for a SARS-CoV2-induced reduction of endogenous protease inhibitors in virus-infected cells.
Protease inhibitors can act as virus entry inhibitors, as they prevent the spike protein of the novel coronavirus from latching onto cells. Influenza viruses, just like coronavirus, require host cell proteases for cell entry. In Russia, an aprotinin aerosol is already approved for the treatment of influenza.
In cell culture experiments with various cell types, the international scientific team led by Professor Jindrich Cinatl, Institute for Medical Virology at the University Hospital Frankfurt, Professor Martin Michaelis, and Dr Mark Wass, both from the University of Kent, were able to prove that the inhibitor can prevent replication of SARS-CoV-2 in host cells.
According to Professor Jindrich Cinatl, “Our findings show that aprotinin is effective against SARS-CoV2 in concentrations that can be achieved in patients. In aprotinin, we have a drug candidate for the treatment of COVID-19 that is already approved for other indications and could readily be tested in patients.”
Researchers suggest that based on the findings, the use of aprotinin aerosol may help in preventing COVID-19 progression into the rest of the body, which can cause severe symptoms, complications and even death.