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Potent Antiviral Activities of Type I Interferons to SARS-CoV-2 Infection

By Emily Mantlo, Natalya Bukreyeva, Junki Maruyama, Slobodan Paessler, Cheng Huang

Posted 05 Apr 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.02.022764 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2020.104811)

The ongoing historic outbreak of COVID-19 not only constitutes a global public health crisis, but also carries a devastating social and economic impact. The disease is caused by a newly identified coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). There is an urgent need to identify antivirals to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic. Herein, we report the remarkable sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 to recombinant human interferons α and β (IFNα/β). Treatment with IFN-α at a concentration of 50 international units (IU) per milliliter drastically reduces viral titers by 3.4 log or over 4 log, respectively, in Vero cells. The EC50 of IFN-α and IFN-β treatment is 1.35 IU/ml and 0.76 IU/ml, respectively, in Vero cells. These results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 is more sensitive than many other human pathogenic viruses, including SARS-CoV. Overall, our results demonstrate the potent efficacy of human Type I IFN in suppressing SARS-CoV-2 infection, a finding which could inform future treatment options for COVID-19.

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