Research ArticleCORONAVIRUS

An orally bioavailable broad-spectrum antiviral inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial cell cultures and multiple coronaviruses in mice

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Translational Medicine  29 Apr 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 541, eabb5883
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb5883

Catastrophic consequences

Broad-spectrum antivirals are desirable, particularly in the context of emerging zoonotic infections for which specific interventions do not yet exist. Sheahan et al. tested the potential of a ribonucleoside analog previously shown to be active against other RNA viruses such as influenza and Ebola virus to combat coronaviruses. This drug was effective in cell lines and primary human airway epithelial cultures against multiple coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2. Mouse models of SARS and MERS demonstrated that early treatment reduced viral replication and damage to the lungs. Mechanistically, this drug is incorporated into the viral RNA, inducing mutations and eventually leading to error catastrophe in the virus. In this manner, inducing catastrophe could help avoid catastrophe by stemming the next pandemic.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Translational Medicine