The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged as a pandemic and has inflicted enormous damage on the lives of the people and economy of many countries worldwide. However, therapeutic agents against SARS-CoV-2 remain unclear. SARS-CoV-2 has a spike protein (S protein), and cleavage of the S protein is essential for viral entry. Nattokinase is produced by Bacillus subtilis var. natto and is beneficial to human health. In this study, we examined the effect of nattokinase on the S protein of SARS-CoV-2. When cell lysates transfected with S protein were incubated with nattokinase, the S protein was degraded in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that S protein on the cell surface was degraded when nattokinase was added to the culture medium. Thus, our findings suggest that nattokinase exhibits potential for the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infection via S protein degradation.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; nattokinase.