A facile Q-RT-PCR assay for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 growth in cell culture

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Christian Shema MugishaSebla B Kutluay


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has infected millions within just a few months and is continuing to spread around the globe causing immense respiratory disease and mortality. Assays to monitor SARS-CoV-2 growth depend on time-consuming and costly RNA extraction steps, hampering progress in basic research and drug development efforts. Here we developed a facile Q-RT-PCR assay that bypasses viral RNA extraction steps and can monitor SARS-CoV-2 replication kinetics from a small amount of cell culture supernatants. Using this assay, we screened the activities of a number of entry, SARS-CoV-2- and HIV-1-specific inhibitors in a proof of concept study. In line with previous studies which has shown that processing of the viral Spike protein by cellular proteases and endosomal fusion are required for entry, we found that E64D and apilimod potently decreased the amount of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cell culture supernatants with minimal cytotoxicity. Surprisingly, we found that macropinocytosis inhibitor EIPA similarly decreased viral RNA in supernatants suggesting that entry may additionally be mediated by an alternative pathway. HIV-1-specific inhibitors nevi...Continue Reading


Mar 23, 2021·Frontiers in Microbiology·Ahmad F EweasAhmed S Abdel-Moneim

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