Broad spectrum antiviral remdesivir inhibits human endemic and zoonotic deltacoronaviruses with a highly divergent RNA dependent RNA polymerase

Antiviral Res. 2019 Sep:169:104541. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2019.104541. Epub 2019 Jun 21.


The genetically diverse Orthocoronavirinae (CoV) family is prone to cross species transmission and disease emergence in both humans and livestock. Viruses similar to known epidemic strains circulating in wild and domestic animals further increase the probability of emergence in the future. Currently, there are no approved therapeutics for any human CoV presenting a clear unmet medical need. Remdesivir (RDV, GS-5734) is a monophosphoramidate prodrug of an adenosine analog with potent activity against an array of RNA virus families including Filoviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Pneumoviridae, and Orthocoronavirinae, through the targeting of the viral RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). We developed multiple assays to further define the breadth of RDV antiviral activity against the CoV family. Here, we show potent antiviral activity of RDV against endemic human CoVs OC43 (HCoV-OC43) and 229E (HCoV-229E) with submicromolar EC50 values. Of known CoVs, the members of the deltacoronavirus genus have the most divergent RdRp as compared to SARS- and MERS-CoV and both avian and porcine members harbor a native residue in the RdRp that confers resistance in beta-CoVs. Nevertheless, RDV is highly efficacious against porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV). These data further extend the known breadth and antiviral activity of RDV to include both contemporary human and highly divergent zoonotic CoV and potentially enhance our ability to fight future emerging CoV.

Keywords: Broad-spectrum antivirals; Coronavirus; Emerging viruses; GS-5743; Remdesivir.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenosine Monophosphate / pharmacology*
  • Alanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Betacoronavirus / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Coronavirus / classification
  • Coronavirus / drug effects*
  • Coronavirus / genetics
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / drug effects
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus / drug effects
  • Swine
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • remdesivir
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase
  • Alanine