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Currently, COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been widely spread around the world; nevertheless, so far there exist no specific antiviral drugs for treatment of the disease, which poses great challenge to control and contain the virus. Here, we reported a research finding that SARS-CoV-2 invaded host cells via a novel route of CD147-spike protein (SP). SP bound to CD147, a receptor on the host cells, thereby mediating the viral invasion. Our further research confirmed this finding. First, in vitro antiviral tests indicated Meplazumab, an anti-CD147 humanized antibody, significantly inhibited the viruses from invading host cells, with an EC50 of 24.86 μg/mL and IC50 of 15.16 μg/mL. Second, we validated the interaction between CD147 and SP, with an affinity constant of 1.85E-07M. Co-Immunoprecipitation and ELISA also confirmed the binding of the two proteins. Finally, the localization of CD147 and SP was observed in SARS-CoV-2 infected Vero E6 cells by immuno-electron microscope. Therefore, the discovery of the new route CD147-SP for SARS-CoV-2 invading host cells provides a critical target for development of specific antiviral drugs.

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