Targeting Viral Ion Channels: A Promising Strategy to Curb SARS-CoV-2

Anamika Singh, Isaiah T. Arkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


SARS-CoV-2 is the etiological agent COVID-19, one of the most impactful health crises afflicting humanity in recent decades. While research advances have yielded several treatment and prevention options, the pandemic is slow to abate, necessitating an expansion of our treatment arsenal. As a member of the coronaviridae, SARS-CoV-2 contains several ion channels, of which E and 3a are the best characterized. Since ion channels as a family are excellent drug targets, we sought to inhibit both viroporins as a means to curb infectivity. In a previous targeted study, we identified several blockers to each channel from an extensive drug repurposing library. Herein, we examined the ability of said compounds on the whole virus in cellulo. Gratifyingly, many of the blockers exhibited antiviral activity in a stringent assay examining protection from viral-driven death. In particular, darapladib and flumatinib, both 3a blockers, displayed potent antiviral activity. Furthermore, appreciable synergism between flumatinib and several E blockers was identified in a concentration regime in which the compounds are present in human plasma following oral administration. Taken together, targeting ion channels represents a promising approach to both augment and complement our antiviral arsenal against COVID-19.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number396
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • COVID-19
  • antiviral drug
  • channel blocker
  • drug repurposing
  • ion channel


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