New class of drugs may prevent infection by wide range of COVID-19 variants

March 13, 2023
Pharmacologic disruption of mSWI/SNF complex activity restricts SARS-CoV-2 infection.

A new class of oral drugs can inhibit a wide range of SARS-CoV-2 variants, researchers report, potentially identifying new antiviral agents providing broad activity against the constantly emerging new strains of the COVID-19 virus.

The researchers discovered that the mammalian SWI/SNF (also called BAF) chromatin remodeling complex, a regulator of gene expression –controls the expression of the ACE2, the cellular receptor or “entry point” used by COVID-19 viruses. When mSWI/SNF complexes were disrupted, the cell could no longer make ACE-2 receptor protein and became resistant to infection by any virus that uses that receptor. Kadoch’s work on mSWI/SNF complexes over the years has led to experimental drugs currently in phase 1 trials as anti-cancer agents.

These oral drugs now are looking promising for use in COVID-19, since they can inhibit ACE2 activity and nearly completely block viral infection in multiple cell lines and human lung organoids.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute release