Apr 5, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV differ in their cell tropism and drug sensitivity profiles

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
D. BojkovaJ. N. Cinatl


SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus currently causing a pandemic. We show that the majority of amino acid positions, which differ between SARS-CoV-2 and the closely related SARS-CoV, are differentially conserved suggesting differences in biological behaviour. In agreement, novel cell culture models revealed differences between the tropism of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. Moreover, cellular ACE2 (SARS-CoV-2 receptor) and TMPRSS2 (enables virus entry via S protein cleavage) levels did not reliably indicate cell susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV further differed in their drug sensitivity profiles. Thus, only drug testing using SARS-CoV-2 reliably identifies therapy candidates. Therapeutic concentrations of the approved protease inhibitor aprotinin displayed anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. The efficacy of aprotinin and of remdesivir (currently under clinical investigation against SARS-CoV-2) were further enhanced by therapeutic concentrations of the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole (aprotinin 2.7-fold, remdesivir 10-fold). Hence, our study has also identified anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapy candidates that can be readily tested in patients.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Somatic Mutation
Cancer Gene Mutation
Basal Cell Neoplasm
COG1 gene
Base Sequence

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