Comparative study of a 3CL pro inhibitor and remdesivir against both major SARS-CoV-2 clades in human airway models.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Maren de VriesMeike Dittmann


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiological agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), a pandemic that has claimed over 700,000 human lives. The only SARS-CoV-2 antiviral, for emergency use, is remdesivir, targeting the viral polymerase complex. PF-00835231 is a pre-clinical lead compound with an alternate target, the main SARS-CoV-2 protease 3CL pro (M pro ). Here, we perform a comparative analysis of PF-00835231 and remdesivir in A549 +ACE2 cells, using isolates of two major SARS-CoV-2 clades. PF-00835231 is antiviral for both clades, and, in this assay, statistically more potent than remdesivir. A time-of-drug-addition approach delineates the timing of early SARS-CoV-2 life cycle steps and validates PF-00835231's time of action. Both PF-00835231 and remdesivir potently inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in human polarized airway epithelial cultures. Thus, our study provides in vitro evidence for the potential of PF-00835231 as an effective antiviral for SARS-CoV-2, addresses concerns from non-human in vitro models, and supports further studies with this compound.


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confocal microscopy
flow cytometry
bronchoalveolar lavages

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