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Snake venom phospholipase A2s exhibit strong virucidal activity against SARS-CoV-2 and inhibit the viral spike glycoprotein interaction with ACE2.

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Streltsova, Maria A  ORCID logo
Nikiforova, Maria A  ORCID logo
Kudryavtsev, Denis S  ORCID logo
Grinkina, Svetlana D 


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 requires new treatments both to alleviate the symptoms and to prevent the spread of this disease. Previous studies demonstrated good antiviral and virucidal activity of phospholipase A2s (PLA2s) from snake venoms against viruses from different families but there was no data for coronaviruses. Here we show that PLA2s from snake venoms protect Vero E6 cells against SARS-CoV-2 cytopathic effects. PLA2s showed low cytotoxicity to Vero E6 cells with some activity at micromolar concentrations, but strong antiviral activity at nanomolar concentrations. Dimeric PLA2 from the viper Vipera nikolskii and its subunits manifested especially potent virucidal effects, which were related to their phospholipolytic activity, and inhibited cell-cell fusion mediated by the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein. Moreover, PLA2s interfered with binding both of an antibody against ACE2 and of the receptor-binding domain of the glycoprotein S to 293T/ACE2 cells. This is the first demonstration of a detrimental effect of PLA2s on β-coronaviruses. Thus, snake PLA2s are promising for the development of antiviral drugs that target the viral envelope, and could also prove to be useful tools to study the interaction of viruses with host cells.



Molecular modelling, Pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 virus, Receptor binding domain, Replication cycle, Surface plasmon resonance, Time-of-drug-addition assay, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2, Animals, Antibody Affinity, Antiviral Agents, Cell Fusion, Cell Line, Chlorocebus aethiops, Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Models, Molecular, Phospholipases A2, Protein Domains, SARS-CoV-2, Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus, Surface Plasmon Resonance, Vero Cells, Viper Venoms, Virus Attachment, COVID-19 Drug Treatment

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Cell Mol Life Sci

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Российский Фонд Фундаментальных Исследований (20-04-60277)