OPEN bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology | 12 Nov 2020
RD de Vries, KS Schmitz, FT Bovier, D Noack, BL Haagmans, S Biswas, B Rockx, SH Gellman, CA Alabi, RL de Swart, A Moscona and M Porotto
Containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires reducing viral transmission. SARS-CoV-2 infection is initiated by membrane fusion between the viral and host cell membranes, mediated by the viral spike protein. We have designed a dimeric lipopeptide fusion inhibitor that blocks this critical first step of infection for emerging coronaviruses and document that it completely prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection in ferrets. Daily intranasal administration to ferrets completely prevented SARS-CoV-2 direct-contact transmission during 24-hour co-housing with infected animals, under stringent conditions that resulted in infection of 100% of untreated animals. These lipopeptides are highly stable and non-toxic and thus readily translate into a safe and effective intranasal prophylactic approach to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
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