COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (CoV)-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus is responsible for an ongoing pandemic and concomitant public health crisis around the world. While vaccine development is proving to be highly successful, parallel drug development approaches are also critical in the response to SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging viruses. Coronaviruses require Ca2+ ions for host cell entry, and we have previously shown that Ca2+ modulates the interaction of the viral fusion peptide with host cell membranes. In an attempt to accelerate drug repurposing, we tested a panel of L-type calcium channel blocker (CCB) drugs currently developed for other conditions to determine whether they would inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection in cell culture. All the CCBs tested showed varying degrees of inhibition, with felodipine and nifedipine strongly limiting SARS-CoV-2 entry and infection in epithelial lung cells at concentrations where cell toxicity was minimal. Further studies with pseudotyped particles displaying the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein suggested that inhibition occurs at the level of virus entry. Overall, our data suggest that certain CCBs have the potential to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections and are worthy of further examination for possible treatment of COVID-19.
Dynamic IgG seropositivity after rollout of CoronaVac and BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccines in Chile: a sentinel surveillance study