Enisamium is an inhibitor of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA polymerase and shows improvement of recovery in COVID-19 patients in an interim analysis of a clinical trial
Pandemic SARS-CoV-2 causes a mild to severe respiratory disease called Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Control of SARS-CoV-2 spread will depend on vaccine-induced or naturally acquired protective herd immunity. Until then, antiviral strategies are needed to manage COVID-19, but approved antiviral treatments, such as remdesivir, can only be delivered intravenously. Enisamium (laboratory code FAV00A, trade name Amizon®) is an orally active inhibitor of influenza A and B viruses in cell culture and clinically approved in countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Here we show that enisamium can inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infections in NHBE and Caco-2 cells. In vitro, the previously identified enisamium metabolite VR17-04 directly inhibits the activity of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA polymerase. Docking and molecular dynamics simulations suggest that VR17-04 prevents GTP and UTP incorporation. To confirm enisamium’s antiviral properties, we conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in adult, hospitalized COVID-19 patients, which needed medical care either with or without supplementary oxygen. Patients received either enisamium (500 mg per dose) or placebo for 7 days. A pre-planned interim analysis showed in the subgroup of patients needing supplementary oxygen (n = 77) in the enisamium group a mean recovery time of 11.1 days, compared to 13.9 days for the placebo group (log-rank test; p=0.0259). No significant difference was found for all patients (n = 373) or those only needing medical care (n = 296). These results thus suggest that enisamium is an inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 RNA synthesis and that enisamium treatment shortens the time to recovery for COVID-19 patients needing oxygen.
SARS-CoV-2 virus, COVID-19, infection, viral replication, EpiAirway (AIR-100), HCoV-NL63, alpha-coronavirus, Infectious disease research, viral infection
enisamium (FAV00A, Amizon), SARS-CoV-2 virus, HCoV-NL63
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