Warning: This is a preliminary report that has not been peer-reviewed. It should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or be reported in news media as established information.

The neutralization effect of Montelukast on SARS-CoV-2 is shown by multiscale in silico simulations and combined in vitro studies (Preliminary Report)

Small molecule inhibitors have previously been investigated in different studies as possible therapeutics in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. In the current drug repurposing study, we identified the leukotriene (D4) receptor antagonist Montelukast as a novel agent that simultaneously targets two important drug targets of SARS-CoV-2. We initially demonstrated the dual ...
inhibition profile of Montelukast through multiscale molecular modeling studies. Next, we characterized its effect on both targets by different in vitro experiments including the Fluorescent Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-based main protease enzyme inhibition assay, surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy, pseudovirus neutralization on HEK293T / hACE2, and virus neutralization assay using xCELLigence MP real time cell analyzer. Our integrated in silico and in vitro results confirmed the dual potential effect of the Montelukast both on virus entry into the host cell (Spike/ACE2) and on the main protease enzyme inhibition. The virus neutralization assay results showed that while no cytotoxicity of the Montelukast was observed at 12 M concentration, the cell index time 50 (CIT50) value was delayed for 12 hours. Moreover, it was also shown that Favipiravir, a well-known antiviral used in COVID-19 therapy, should be used by 16-fold higher concentrations than Montelukast in order to have the same effect of Montelukast. The rapid use of new small molecules in the pandemic is very important today. Montelukast, whose pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties are very well characterized and has been widely used in the treatment of asthma since 1998, should urgently be completed in clinical phase studies and if its effect is proven in clinical phase studies, it should be used against COVID-19.
Date: Dec. 27, 2020
Status: Preliminary Report