Modified cyclodextrins as broad-spectrum antivirals

Posted by

The recent paper of Swiss and English researchers on modified cyclodextrins as antiviral agents received great attention in the bulvar. Althogh coronavirus causing endemic in China is not even mentioned in the paper the headlines suggest a great promise in the novel cyclodextrin derivatives as broad-spectrum antivirals:

  • Swiss scientists discover ‘antiviral’ powers of sugar.  Swissinfo
  • Antiviral made from sugar ‘may be game changer for diseases like coronavirus’ BreakingNews
  • ‘Game-changer’ antiviral sugar materials could be used against coronavirus. siliconrepublic
  • Antiviral made from sugar ‘may be game changer for diseases like coronavirus’ yahoo!news

“Swiss and British researchers have modified sugar molecules so that they are capable, by simple contact, of destroying viruses, without toxicity to humans. The method could apply, for example, to the new coronavirus in China.” (Swissinfo)

In their paper in Science Advances, the Swiss, Englisn, US and Canadian authors modified cyclodextrins with mercaptoundecane sulfonic acids, to mimic heparan sulfates and to provide the key nontoxic virucidal action. They showed that the resulting macromolecules are broad-spectrum, biocompatible, and virucidal at micromolar concentrations in vitro against many viruses [including herpes simplex virus (HSV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), dengue virus, and Zika virus]. The new compounds are effective ex vivo against both laboratory and clinical strains of RSV and HSV-2 in respiratory and vaginal tissue culture models, respectively. Additionally, they are effective when administrated in mice before intravaginal HSV-2 inoculation. Lastly, they pass a mutation resistance test that the currently available anti-HSV drug (acyclovir) fails.


Samuel T. Jones, Valeria Cagno, Matej Janeček, Daniel Ortiz, Natalia Gasilova, Jocelyne Piret, Matteo Gasbarri, David A. Constant, Yanxiao Han, Lela Vuković, Petr Král, Laurent Kaiser, Song Huang, Samuel Constant, Karla Kirkegaard, Guy Boivin, Francesco Stellacci and Caroline Tapparel (2020) Modified cyclodextrins as broad-spectrum antivirals. Science Advances 6(5), eaax9318

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax9318

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.