In response to the current pandemic caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2, identifying and validating effective therapeutic strategies is more than ever necessary. We evaluated the in vitro antiviral activities of a shortlist of compounds, known for their cellular broad-spectrum activities, together with drugs that are currently under evaluation in clinical trials for COVID-19 patients. We report the antiviral effect of remdesivir, lopinavir, chloroquine, umifenovir, berberine and cyclosporine A in Vero E6 cells model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, with estimated 50% inhibitory concentrations of 0.99, 5.2, 1.38, 3.5, 10.6 and 3 μM, respectively. Virus-directed plus host-directed drug combinations were also investigated. We report a strong antagonism between remdesivir and berberine, in contrast with remdesivir/diltiazem, for which we describe high levels of synergy, with mean Loewe synergy scores of 12 and peak values above 50. Combination of host-directed drugs with direct acting antivirals underscore further validation in more physiological models, yet they open up interesting avenues for the treatment of COVID-19.
Keywords: Antivirals; Berberine; COVID-19; Diltiazem; Drug combination; Remdesivir.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.