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Intranasal fusion inhibitory lipopeptide prevents direct-contact SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets

February 25, 2021

Publication by Rory de Vries, Rik de Swart, Katharina Schmitz, Danny Noack, Bart Haagmans, Sander Herfst and Barry Rockx

Containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires reducing viral transmission. SARS-CoV-2 infection is initiated by membrane fusion between the viral and host cell membranes, mediated by the viral spike protein. We have designed lipopeptide fusion inhibitors that block this critical first step of infection, and based on in vitro efficacy and in vivo biodistribution selected a dimeric form for evaluation in an animal model.

Daily intranasal administration to ferrets completely prevented SARS-CoV-2 direct-contact transmission during 24-hour co-housing with infected animals, under stringent conditions that resulted in infection of 100% of untreated animals. These lipopeptides are highly stable and thus may readily translate into safe and effective intranasal prophylaxis to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

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