Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused an ongoing pandemic, coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), which has become a major global public health event. Antiviral compounds remain the predominant means of treating COVID-19. Here, we reported that bergamottin, a furanocoumarin originally found in bergamot, exhibited inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo. Bergamottin interfered with multiple stages of virus life cycles, specifically blocking the SARS-CoV-2 spike-mediated membrane fusion and effectively reducing viral RNA synthesis. Oral delivery of bergamottin to golden Syrian hamsters at dosages of both 50 mg/kg and 75 mg/kg reduced the SARS-CoV-2 load in nasal turbinates and lung tissues. Pathological damage caused by viral infection was also ameliorated after bergamottin treatment. Overall, our study provides evidence of bergamottin as a promising natural compound, with broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus activity, that could be further developed in the fight against COVID-19 infection during the current pandemic.
Keywords: Antiviral; Bergamottin; Inhibitor; Natural products; SARS-CoV-2.
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