Inhibition of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 replication by hypertonic saline solution in lung and kidney epithelial cells
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An unprecedented global health crisis has been caused by a new virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We performed experiments to test if a hypertonic saline solution was capable of inhibiting virus replication. Our data show that 1.2% NaCl inhibited virus replication by 90%, achieving 100% of inhibition at 1.5% in the nonhuman primate kidney cell line Vero, and 1.1% of NaCl was sufficient to inhibit the virus replication by 88% in human epithelial lung cell line Calu-3. Furthermore, our results indicate that the inhibition is due to an intracellular mechanism and not to the dissociation of the spike SARS-CoV-2 protein and its human receptor. NaCl depolarizes the plasma membrane causing a low energy state (high ADP/ATP concentration ratio) without impairing mitochondrial function, supposedly associated with the inhibition of the SARS-CoV-2 life cycle. Membrane depolarization and intracellular energy deprivation are possible mechanisms by which the hypertonic saline solution efficiently prevents virus replication in vitro assays.
Machado RR.G., Glaser T, Araujo DB., Petiz LL, Oliveira DBL, Durigon GS., et al. Inhibition of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 replication by hypertonic saline solution in lung and kidney epithelial cells. ACS Pharmacol. Transl. Sci. 2021 Sept;4(5):1514–1527. doi:10.1021/acsptsci.1c00080.
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