Publication date: Sep 22, 2023
During the ongoing pandemic, providing treatment consisting of effective, low-cost oral antiviral drugs at an early stage of SARS-CoV-2 infection has been a priority for controlling COVID-19. Although Paxlovid and molnupiravir have received emergency approval from the FDA, some side effect concerns have emerged, and the possible oral agents are still limited, resulting in optimized drug development becoming an urgent requirement. An oral remdesivir derivative, VV116, has been reported to have promising antiviral effects against SARS-CoV-2 and positive therapeutic outcomes in clinical trials. However, whether VV116 has broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus activity and potential synergy with other drugs is not clear. Here, we uncovered the broad-spectrum antiviral potency of VV116 against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs), HCoV-OC43, and HCoV-229E in various cell lines. In vitro drug combination screening targeted RdRp and proteinase, highlighting the synergistic effect of VV116 and nirmatrelvir on HCoV-OC43 and SARS-CoV-2. When co-administrated with ritonavir, the combination of VV116 and nirmatrelvir showed significantly enhanced antiviral potency with noninteracting pharmacokinetic properties in mice. Our findings will facilitate clinical treatment with VV116 or VV116+nirmatrelvir combination to fight coronavirus infection.
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