Cathepsin inhibitors nitroxoline and its derivatives inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection

Colleagues Ana Mitrović and Janko Kos from department in collaboration with colleges from Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana and ICGEB in Trieste published the paper in journal Antiviral Research (IF = 10.103) entitled »Cathepsin inhibitors nitroxoline and its derivatives inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection«. In paper the authors demonstrated that selective cathepsin B inhibitors, such as the antimicrobial agent nitroxoline and its derivatives, impair SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. Next, they observed antiviral activity observed at early stage of virus entry was cell-type dependent and correlated well with the intracellular content and enzymatic function of cathepsins B or L. Taken together, results from this study highlight the important role of host cysteine cathepsin B in SARS-CoV-2 virus entry and show that cathepsin-specific inhibitors, such as nitroxoline and its derivatives, could be used to treat COVID-19.
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