There is urgent therapeutic need for COVID-19, a disease for which there are currently no widely effective approved treatments and the emergency use authorized drugs do not result in significant and widespread patient improvement. The food and drug administration-approved drug ivermectin has long been shown to be both antihelmintic agent and a potent inhibitor of viruses such as Yellow Fever Virus. In this study, we highlight the potential of ivermectin packaged in an orally administrable nanoparticle that could serve as a vehicle to deliver a more potent therapeutic antiviral dose and demonstrate its efficacy to decrease expression of viral spike protein and its receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), both of which are keys to lowering disease transmission rates. We also report that the targeted nanoparticle delivered ivermectin is able to inhibit the nuclear transport activities mediated through proteins such as importin α/β1 heterodimer as a possible mechanism of action. This study sheds light on ivermectin-loaded, orally administrable, biodegradable nanoparticles to be a potential treatment option for the novel coronavirus through a multilevel inhibition. As both ACE2 targeting and the presence of spike protein are features shared among this class of virus, this platform technology has the potential to serve as a therapeutic tool not only for COVID-19 but for other coronavirus strains as well.
- RNA virus
- angiotensin-converting enzyme 2
- severe acute respiratory syndrome virus
- spike protein
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)