Potential SARS-CoV-2 antiviral: Ionophore X-206 found to inhibit viral replication in cell cultures

potential sars cov 2 antiviral ionophore x 206 found to inhibit viral replication in cell cultures

In vitro laboratory tests have shown that polyether ionophores, notably the antibiotic X-206, are potent inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2. However, since their safety for human use is unknown, further tests need to be done to determine their potential for use as antivirals for COVID-19.

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana. Image Credit: NIAID / Flickr

One of the efforts to combat the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is repurposing drugs already in use.

Polyether ionophores are a family of natural products used as antibiotics. Often used in animals, they can inhibit gram-positive bacteria, including drug-resistant strains. They have also been seen to have antiviral activity against RNA and DNA viruses like influenza, HIV, and Zika. Studies reported that the ionophores salinomycin and monensin could inhibit Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), a coronavirus pathogen closely related to SARS-CoV-2. While the exact mechanism of antiviral activity in ionophores is unknown, it is likely that they interfere with the virus replication cycle.

Polyether ionophores inhibit SARS-CoV-2

In a recent study published in the journal Antiviral Research, researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, report on their tests on different polyether ionophores to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in vitro.…

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