Highly Potent Host-Specific Small-Molecule Inhibitor of Paramyxovirus and Pneumovirus Replication with High Resistance Barrier.

Shrestha, Neeta; Gall, Flavio Max; Mathieu, Cyrille; Hierweger, Melanie Michaela; Brügger, Melanie; Alves, Marco P.; Vesin, Jonathan; Banfi, Damiano; Kalbermatter, David; Horvat, Branka; Chambon, Marc; Turcatti, Gerardo; Fotiadis, Dimitrios; Riedl, Rainer; Plattet, Philippe (2021). Highly Potent Host-Specific Small-Molecule Inhibitor of Paramyxovirus and Pneumovirus Replication with High Resistance Barrier. mBio, 12(6), e0262121. American Society for Microbiology 10.1128/mBio.02621-21

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Multiple enveloped RNA viruses of the family Paramyxoviridae and Pneumoviridae, like measles virus (MeV), Nipah virus (NiV), canine distemper virus (CDV), or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are of high clinical relevance. Each year a huge number of lives are lost as a result of these viral infections. Worldwide, MeV infection alone is responsible for over a hundred thousand deaths each year despite available vaccine. Therefore, there is an urgent need for treatment options to counteract these viral infections. The development of antiviral drugs in general stands as a huge challenge due to the rapid emergence of viral escape mutants. Here, we disclose the discovery of a small-molecule antiviral, compound 1 (ZHAWOC9045), active against several pneumo-/paramyxoviruses, including MeV, NiV, CDV, RSV, and parainfluenza virus type 5 (PIV-5). A series of mechanistic characterizations revealed that compound 1 targets a host factor which is indispensable for viral genome replication. Drug resistance profiling against a paramyxovirus model (CDV) demonstrated no detectable adaptation despite prolonged time of investigation, thereby mitigating the rapid emergence of escape variants. Furthermore, a thorough structure-activity relationship analysis of compound 1 led to the invention of 100-times-more potent-derivatives, e.g., compound 2 (ZHAWOC21026). Collectively, we present in this study an attractive host-directed pneumoviral/paramyxoviral replication inhibitor with potential therapeutic application. IMPORTANCE Measles virus, respiratory syncytial virus, canine distemper virus, and Nipah virus are some of the clinically significant RNA viruses that threaten substantial number of lives each year. Limited to no availability of treatment options for these viral infections makes it arduous to handle the outbreaks. This highlights the major importance of developing antivirals to fight not only ongoing infections but also potential future epidemics. Most of the discovered antivirals, in clinical trials currently, are virus targeted, which consequently poses the challenge of rapid emergence of escape variants. Here, we present compound 1 (ZHAWOC9045), discovered to target viral replication in a host-dependent manner, thereby exhibiting broad-spectrum activity against several members of the family Pneumo-/Paramyxoviridae. The inability of viruses to mutate against the inhibitor mitigated the critical issue of generation of escape variants. Importantly, compound 1 was successfully optimized to a highly potent variant, compound 2 (ZHAWOC21026), with a promising profile for pharmacological intervention.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Faculty Institutions > NCCR TransCure
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Experimental Clinical Research
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Virology and Immunology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)
09 Interdisciplinary Units > Microscopy Imaging Center (MIC)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Shrestha, Neeta, Hierweger, Melanie Michaela, Brügger, Melanie, Alves, Marco, Kalbermatter, David, Fotiadis, Dimitrios José, Plattet, Philippe


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




American Society for Microbiology




Barbara Franziska Järmann-Bangerter

Date Deposited:

23 Dec 2021 15:15

Last Modified:

05 Feb 2024 14:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

high resistance barrier host-directed inhibitors paramyxovirus pneumovirus replication





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