Ability of a Clinical Stage LMW-DS Drug to Inhibit Coronavirus Infection of Cells and Suppress Cytokine Secretion from Human Microglia

Ann Logan*, Michael Mazzon, Jamie Cowley, Neale Harrison, Ines M Morano, Omar Qureshi, Lars Bruce, Nicholas Barnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Most coronaviruses infect animals including bats, birds and mammals, which act as hosts and reservoirs for the viruses, but the viruses can sometimes move host species and infect humans. Coronaviruses were first identified as human pathogens in the 1960s and now there are seven types known to infect humans. Whilst four of these types cause mild-to-moderate respiratory disease, the other three may cause more severe and possibly even fatal disease in vulnerable individuals particularly, with the most recent SARS-CoV-2 pandemic being associated with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in many infected people. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential of a unique Low Molecular Weight Dextran Sulphate (LMW- DS) clinical stage drug, ILB®, to inhibit infection of human cells by the NL63 coronavirus assessed by immunofluorescence of viral particles, and also to see if the drug directly blocked the interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein with the ACE2 receptor. Furthermore, we evaluated if ILB® could modulate the downstream consequences of viral infection including the reactive cytokine release from human microglia induced by various SARS-CoV-2 variant spike proteins. We demonstrated that ILB® blocked ACE2:spike protein interaction and inhibited coronaviral infection. ILB® also attenuated the Omicron-induced release of pro-inlammatory cytokines, including TNFa, from human microglia, indicating control of post-viral neuroinflammation. In conclusion, given the safety profile of ILB® established in a number of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials, these results highlight the potential of ILB® to treat patients infected with coronaviruses to both limit infectivity and attenuate the progression to severe disease. There is now an opportunity to translate these findings quickly by the clinical investigation of drug efficacy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 1000531
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy
Issue number2
Early online date20 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023


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