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DOI: 10.1101/2022.12.27.521979

Tissue protective role of Ganetespib in SARS-CoV-2-infected Syrian golden hamsters

L. G.Teixeira Alves M. Baumgardt J. Hoppe ...+10 M. Landthaler
The emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants, capable of escaping the humoral immunity acquired by the available vaccines, together with waning immunity and vaccine hesitancy, challenges the efficacy of the vaccination strategy in fighting COVID-19. Improved therapeutic strategies are therefore urgently needed to better intervene particularly in severe cases of the disease. They should aim at controlling the hyper-inflammatory state generated upon infection, at reducing lung tissue pathology and endothelial damages, along with viral replication. Previous research has pointed a possible role for the chaperone HSP90 in SARS-CoV-2 replication and COVID-19 pathogenesis. Pharmacological intervention through HSP90 inhibitors was shown to be beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, infections and reducing replication of diverse viruses. In this study, we analyzed the effects of the potent HSP90 inhibitor Ganetespib in vitro on alveolar epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages to characterize its effects on cell activation and viral replication. Additionally, to evaluate its efficacy in controlling systemic inflammation and the viral burden after infection in vivo, a Syrian hamster model was used. In vitro, Ganetespib reduced viral replication on AECs in a dose-dependent manner and lowered significantly the expression of pro-inflammatory genes, in both AECs and alveolar macrophages. In vivo, administration of Ganetespib led to an overall improvement of the clinical condition of infected animals, with decreased systemic inflammation, reduced edema formation and lung tissue pathology. Altogether, we show that Ganetespib could be a potential medicine to treat moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.