A prophylactic treatment that could stop SARS-CoV-2 transmission between people successfully prevented viral transmission in a ferret study, show results from an international study.
The lipopeptide fusion inhibitor, given to ferrets two days before they were co-housed with SARS-CoV-2-infected animals, prevented virus transmission to the treated ferrets.
SARS-CoV-2 infection is initiated by membrane fusion between the viral and host cell membranes, mediated by the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Here, researchers with past success designing lipopeptide fusion inhibitors that block this critical first step of infection for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses sought to design a SARS-CoV-2-specific inhibitor that was highly potent.
After this 24-hour period, SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in the throats or noses of any treated ferrets, while infectious virus was detected in all untreated ferrets. In further experiments with ferrets, the authors showed that administration of the peptide intranasally just two hours before exposure delayed infection.