Published on Wed Aug 11 2021

N-dihydrogalactochitosan reduces mortality in a lethal mouse model of SARS-CoV-2

Weiss, C. M., Liu, H., Ball, E. E., Lam, S., Hode, T., Keel, M. K., Levenson, R. M., Coffey, L. L.

N-dihydrogalactochitosan (GC) is a novel mucoadhesive immunostimulatory polymer. GC administered intranasally before and after SARS-CoV-2 exposure diminished morbidity and mortality in humanized ACE2 receptor expressing mice.

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Abstract

The rapid emergence and global dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 continues to cause an unprecedented global health burden resulting in more than 4 million deaths in the 20 months since the virus was discovered. While multiple vaccine countermeasures have been approved for emergency use, additional treatments are still needed due to sluggish vaccine rollout and vaccine hesitancy. Immunoadjuvant compounds delivered intranasally can guide non-specific innate immune responses during the critical early stages of viral replication, reducing morbidity and mortality. N-dihydrogalactochitosan (GC) is a novel mucoadhesive immunostimulatory polymer of {beta}-0-4-linked N-acetylglucosamine that is solubilized by the conjugation of galactose glycans. We tested GC as a potential countermeasure for COVID-19. GC administered intranasally before and after SARS-CoV-2 exposure diminished morbidity and mortality in humanized ACE2 receptor expressing mice by up to 75% and reduced infectious virus levels in the upper airway and lungs. Our findings demonstrate a new application for soluble immunoadjuvants like GC for preventing severe disease associated with SARS-CoV-2.