An antiviral cathelicidin peptide from wild boar exhibits antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2.
- Pan-coronavirus inhibitor that may be effective for all future variants.
- Functions as an inhibitor of ongoing infection.
- Early data suggests it is safe to use in human tissue.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) virus. SARS-CoV-2 is a beta coronavirus, similar to MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and it is the cause of the current pandemic. COVID-19 can cause respiratory illness with symptoms including cough, fever, and difficulty breathing. COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease and can lead to death. Efficacious antiviral drugs are urgently needed to help control the toll and spread of this disease.
Emory researchers and colleagues show that a cathelicidin peptide from a wild boar inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in several in-vitro assays. Cathelicidins are a class of host defense peptides that possess broad anti-viral activity. They are heterogeneous between species. In general, once cleaved into their active, amphipathic form, cathelicidins will insert themselves into the membrane of pathogens and cluster to form channels or pores. In the case of viruses, neutralization is achieved by the “carpet model” of antimicrobial peptide action, where a threshold concentration of peptide causes rapid disintegration of the viral envelope. The human cathelicidin, LL37 and its closely related variants found across many species did not inhibit SARS CoV2. However, since pigs cannot be infected with SARS-Cov-2, researchers studied the antimicrobial peptides of various species of pigs.
In vitro assays, pre-clinical data only.
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