Protection against filovirus diseases by a novel broad-spectrum nucleoside analogue BCX4430.
ABSTRACT: Filoviruses are emerging pathogens and causative agents of viral haemorrhagic fever. Case fatality rates of filovirus disease outbreaks are among the highest reported for any human pathogen, exceeding 90% (ref. 1). Licensed therapeutic or vaccine products are not available to treat filovirus diseases. Candidate therapeutics previously shown to be efficacious in non-human primate disease models are based on virus-specific designs and have limited broad-spectrum antiviral potential. Here we show that BCX4430, a novel synthetic adenosine analogue, inhibits infection of distinct filoviruses in human cells. Biochemical, reporter-based and primer-extension assays indicate that BCX4430 inhibits viral RNA polymerase function, acting as a non-obligate RNA chain terminator. Post-exposure intramuscular administration of BCX4430 protects against Ebola virus and Marburg virus disease in rodent models. Most importantly, BCX4430 completely protects cynomolgus macaques from Marburg virus infection when administered as late as 48 hours after infection. In addition, BCX4430 exhibits broad-spectrum antiviral activity against numerous viruses, including bunyaviruses, arenaviruses, paramyxoviruses, coronaviruses and flaviviruses. This is the first report, to our knowledge, of non-human primate protection from filovirus disease by a synthetic drug-like small molecule. We provide additional pharmacological characterizations supporting the potential development of BCX4430 as a countermeasure against human filovirus diseases and other viral diseases representing major public health threats.
Project description:The adenosine nucleoside analog BCX4430 is a direct-acting antiviral drug under investigation for the treatment of serious and life-threatening infections from highly pathogenic viruses, such as the Ebola virus. Cellular kinases phosphorylate BCX4430 to a triphosphate that mimics ATP; viral RNA polymerases incorporate the drug's monophosphate nucleotide into the growing RNA chain, causing premature chain termination. BCX4430 is active in vitro against many RNA viral pathogens, including the filoviruses and emerging infectious agents such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. In vivo, BCX4430 is active after intramuscular, intraperitoneal, and oral administration in a variety of experimental infections. In nonclinical studies involving lethal infections with Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Rift Valley fever virus, and Yellow Fever virus, BCX4430 has demonstrated pronounced efficacy. In experiments conducted in several models, both a reduction in the viral load and an improvement in survival were found to be related to the dose of BCX4430. A Phase 1 clinical trial of intramuscular administration of BCX4430 in healthy subjects is currently ongoing.
Project description:The filoviruses Ebola virus and Marburg virus are among the most dangerous pathogens in the world. Both viruses cause viral hemorrhagic fever, with case fatality rates of up to 90%. Historically, filovirus outbreaks had been relatively small, with only a few hundred cases reported. However, the recent West African Ebola virus outbreak underscored the threat that filoviruses pose. The three year-long outbreak resulted in 28,646 Ebola virus infections and 11,323 deaths. The lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed vaccines and antiviral drugs hindered early efforts to contain the outbreak. In response, the global scientific community has spurred the advanced development of many filovirus vaccine candidates. Novel vaccine platforms, such as viral vectors and DNA vaccines, have emerged, leading to the investigation of candidate vaccines that have demonstrated protective efficacy in small animal and nonhuman primate studies. Here, we will discuss several of these vaccine platforms with a particular focus on approaches that have advanced into clinical development.
Project description:Filoviruses cause severe and fatal viral hemorrhagic fever in humans. Filovirus research has been extensive since the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Due to their high pathogenicity and mortality, live filoviruses require Biosafety Level-4 (BSL-4) facilities, which have restricted the development of anti-filovirus vaccines and drugs. An HIV-based pseudovirus cell infection assay is widely used for viral entry studies in BSL-2 conditions. Here, we successfully constructed nine <i>in vitro</i> pseudo-filovirus models covering all filovirus genera and three <i>in vivo</i> pseudo-filovirus-infection mouse models using Ebola virus, Marburg virus, and Lloviu virus as representative viruses. The pseudo-filovirus-infected mice showed visualizing bioluminescence in a dose-dependent manner. A bioluminescence peak in mice was reached on day 5 post-infection for Ebola virus and Marburg virus and on day 4 post-infection for Lloviu virus. Two known filovirus entry inhibitors, clomiphene and toremiphene, were used to validate the model. Collectively, our study shows that all genera of filoviruses can be well-pseudotyped and are infectious <i>in vitro</i>. The pseudo-filovirus-infection mouse models can be used for <i>in vivo</i> activity evaluation of anti-filovirus drugs. This sequential <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i> evaluation system of filovirus entry inhibitors provides a secure and efficient platform for screening and assessing anti-filovirus agents in BSL-2 facilities.
Project description:Filoviruses (family Filoviridae) include five ebolaviruses and Marburg virus. These pathogens cause a rapidly progressing and severe viral disease with high mortality rates (generally 30-90%). Outbreaks of filovirus disease are sporadic and, until recently, were limited to less than 500 cases. However, the 2013-2016 epidemic in western Africa, caused by Ebola virus (EBOV), illustrated the potential of filovirus outbreaks to escalate to a much larger scale (over 28,000 suspected cases). mAbs against the envelope glycoprotein represent a promising therapeutic platform for managing filovirus infections. However, mAbs that exhibit neutralization or protective properties against multiple filoviruses are rare. Here we examined a panel of engineered bi- and trispecific antibodies, in which variable domains of mAbs that target epitopes from multiple filoviruses were combined, for their capacity to neutralize viral infection across filovirus species. We found that bispecific combinations targeting EBOV and Sudan virus (another ebolavirus), provide potent cross-neutralization and protection in mice. Furthermore, trispecific combinations, targeting EBOV, Sudan virus, and Marburg virus, exhibited strong neutralization potential against all three viruses. These results provide important insights into multispecific antibody engineering against filoviruses and will inform future immunotherapeutic discoveries.
Project description:The filoviruses, Marburg virus (MARV) and Ebola virus (EBOV), are causative agents of severe hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates in humans and non-human primates. Sporadic outbreaks of filovirus infection have occurred in Central Africa and parts of Asia. Identification of the natural reservoir animals that are unknown yet and epidemiological investigations are current challenges to forestall outbreaks of filovirus diseases. The filovirus species identified currently include one in the MARV group and five in the EBOV group, with large genetic variations found among the species. Therefore, it has been difficult to develop a single sensitive assay to detect all filovirus species, which would advance laboratory diagnosis greatly in endemic areas. In this study, a highly sensitive universal RT-PCR assay targeting the nucleoprotein (NP) gene of filoviruses was developed. The genomic RNAs of all known MARV and EBOV species were detected by using an NP-specific primer set. In addition, this RT-PCR procedure was verified further for its application to detect viral RNAs in tissue samples of animals infected experimentally and blood specimens of infected patients. This assay will be a useful method for diagnostics and epidemiological studies of filovirus infections.
Project description:Filoviruses cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in humans and nonhuman primates. An initial target of filovirus infection is the mononuclear phagocytic cell. Calcium-dependent (C-type) lectins such as dendritic cell- or liver/lymph node-specific ICAM-3 grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN or L-SIGN, respectively), as well as the hepatic asialoglycoprotein receptor, bind to Ebola or Marburg virus glycoprotein (GP) and enhance the infectivity of these viruses in vitro. Here, we demonstrate that a recently identified human macrophage galactose- and N-acetylgalactosamine-specific C-type lectin (hMGL), whose ligand specificity differs from DC-SIGN and L-SIGN, also enhances the infectivity of filoviruses. This enhancement was substantially weaker for the Reston and Marburg viruses than for the highly pathogenic Zaire virus. We also show that the heavily glycosylated, mucin-like domain on the filovirus GP is required for efficient interaction with this lectin. Furthermore, hMGL, like DC-SIGN and L-SIGN, is present on cells known to be major targets of filoviruses (i.e., macrophages and dendritic cells), suggesting a role for these C-type lectins in viral replication in vivo. We propose that filoviruses use different C-type lectins to gain cellular entry, depending on the cell type, and promote efficient viral replication.
Project description:Ebola viruses and Marburg viruses, members of the filovirus family, are zoonotic pathogens that cause severe disease in people, as highlighted by the latest Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Filovirus disease is characterized by uncontrolled virus replication and the activation of host responses that contribute to pathogenesis. Underlying these phenomena is the potent suppression of host innate antiviral responses, particularly the type I interferon response, by viral proteins, which allows high levels of viral replication. In this Review, we describe the mechanisms used by filoviruses to block host innate immunity and discuss the links between immune evasion and filovirus pathogenesis.
Project description:Infections by the Ebola and Marburg filoviruses cause a rapidly fatal haemorrhagic fever in humans for which no approved antivirals are available. Filovirus entry is mediated by the viral spike glycoprotein (GP), which attaches viral particles to the cell surface, delivers them to endosomes and catalyses fusion between viral and endosomal membranes. Additional host factors in the endosomal compartment are probably required for viral membrane fusion; however, despite considerable efforts, these critical host factors have defied molecular identification. Here we describe a genome-wide haploid genetic screen in human cells to identify host factors required for Ebola virus entry. Our screen uncovered 67 mutations disrupting all six members of the homotypic fusion and vacuole protein-sorting (HOPS) multisubunit tethering complex, which is involved in the fusion of endosomes to lysosomes, and 39 independent mutations that disrupt the endo/lysosomal cholesterol transporter protein Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1). Cells defective for the HOPS complex or NPC1 function, including primary fibroblasts derived from human Niemann-Pick type C1 disease patients, are resistant to infection by Ebola virus and Marburg virus, but remain fully susceptible to a suite of unrelated viruses. We show that membrane fusion mediated by filovirus glycoproteins and viral escape from the vesicular compartment require the NPC1 protein, independent of its known function in cholesterol transport. Our findings uncover unique features of the entry pathway used by filoviruses and indicate potential antiviral strategies to combat these deadly agents.
Project description:Marburg (MARV) and Ebola (EBOV) viruses are zoonotic pathogens that cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans. The natural reservoir of MARV is the Egyptian rousette bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus); that of EBOV is unknown but believed to be another bat species. The Egyptian rousette develops subclinical productive infection with MARV but is refractory to EBOV. Interaction of filoviruses with hosts is greatly affected by the viral interferon (IFN)-inhibiting domains (IID). Our study was aimed at characterization of innate immune responses to filoviruses and the role of filovirus IID in bat and human cells. The study demonstrated that EBOV and MARV replicate to similar levels in all tested cell lines, indicating that permissiveness for EBOV at cell and organism levels do not necessarily correlate. Filoviruses, particularly MARV, induced a potent innate immune response in rousette cells, which was generally stronger than that in human cells. Both EBOV VP35 and VP24 IID were found to suppress the innate immune response in rousette cells, but only VP35 IID appeared to promote virus replication. Along with IFN-? and IFN-?, IFN-? was demonstrated to control filovirus infection in bat cells but not in human cells, suggesting host species specificity of the antiviral effect. The antiviral effects of bat IFNs appeared not to correlate with induction of IFN-stimulated genes 54 and 56, which were detected in human cells ectopically expressing bat IFN-? and IFN-?. As bat IFN-? induced the type I IFN pathway, its antiviral effect is likely to be partially induced via cross talk.IMPORTANCE Bats serve as reservoirs for multiple emerging viruses, including filoviruses, henipaviruses, lyssaviruses, and zoonotic coronaviruses. Although there is no evidence for symptomatic disease caused by either Marburg or Ebola viruses in bats, spillover of these viruses into human populations causes deadly outbreaks. The reason for the lack of symptomatic disease in bats infected with filoviruses remains unknown. The outcome of a virus-host interaction depends on the ability of the host immune system to suppress viral replication and the ability of a virus to counteract the host defenses. Our study is a comparative analysis of the host innate immune response to either MARV or EBOV infection in bat and human cells and the role of viral interferon-inhibiting domains in the host innate immune responses. The data are useful for understanding the interactions of filoviruses with natural and accidental hosts and for identification of factors that influence filovirus evolution.
Project description:Filoviruses, such as Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus, are causative agents of unpredictable outbreaks of severe hemorrhagic fevers in humans and non-human primates. For infection, filoviral particles need to be internalized and delivered to intracellular vesicles containing cathepsin proteases and the viral receptor Niemann-Pick C1. Previous studies have shown that EBOV triggers macropinocytosis of the viral particles in a glycoprotein (GP)-dependent manner, but the molecular events required for filovirus internalization remain mostly unknown. Here we report that the diacylglycerol kinase inhibitor, R-59-022, blocks EBOV GP-mediated entry into Vero cells and bone marrow-derived macrophages. Investigation of the mode of action of the inhibitor revealed that it blocked an early step in entry, more specifically, the internalization of the viral particles via macropinocytosis. Finally, R-59-022 blocked viral entry mediated by a panel of pathogenic filovirus GPs and inhibited growth of replicative Ebola virus. Taken together, our studies suggest that R-59-022 could be used as a tool to investigate macropinocytic uptake of filoviruses and could be a starting point for the development of pan-filoviral therapeutics.