FRANKFURT. SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, needs its spike proteins to dock onto proteins (ACE receptors) on the surface of the host cells. Before this docking is possible, parts of the spike protein have to be cleaved by host cell’s enzymes called proteases. In 2020, a scientific team led by Professor Jindrich Cinatl (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany), Professor Martin Michaelis and Professor Mark Wass (both University of Kent, UK), conducted cell culture experiments and found that aprotinin, a protease inhibitor, could inhibit virus replications by preventing SARS-CoV-2 entry into host cells.
In a more recent study, the research consortium further showed that aprotinin is also effective against the Delta and Omicron variants.
Now, a Spanish research consortium has published the findings of a phase III clinical study investigating the use of an aprotinin aerosol in COVID-19 patients. Among other improvements, aprotinin treatment reduced the length of hospital stays by five days.
Professor Jindrich Cinatl, Goethe University Frankfurt, said: “This shows how scientific collaborations work even without a direct relationship between researchers. I am very glad that our cell culture study inspired this successful clinical trial”.
Professor Martin Michaelis, University of Kent, said: “Our cell culture data looked very convincing. It is exciting that aprotinin has now also been shown to be effective against COVID-19 in patients.”
More about the studies of Goethe University and University of Kent:
1) The drug aprotinin inhibits entry of SARS-CoV2 in host cells https://aktuelles.uni-frankfurt.de/englisch/the-drug-aprotinin-inhibits-entry-of-sars-cov2-in-host-cells/
2) Researchers of the University of Kent and Goethe-University find explanation why the Omicron variant causes less severe disease https://aktuelles.uni-frankfurt.de/englisch/researchers-of-the-university-of-kent-and-goethe-university-find-explanation-why-the-omicron-variant-causes-less-severe-disease/
European Journal of Clinical Investigation
METHOD OF RESEARCH
Randomized controlled/clinical trial
SUBJECT OF RESEARCH
Aprotinin treatment against SARS-CoV-2: A randomized phase III study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a pan-protease inhibitor for moderate COVID-19
ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE
Read Time:1 Minute, 55 Second