J Nanobiotechnology. 2022 Jul 30;20(1):352. doi: 10.1186/s12951-022-01542-2.
BACKGROUND: Coronaviruses usually cause mild respiratory disease in humans but as seen recently, some human coronaviruses can cause more severe diseases, such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the global spread of which has resulted in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
RESULTS: In this study we analyzed the potential of using iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) coated with biocompatible molecules like dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA), 3-aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APS) or carboxydextran (FeraSpin™ R), as well as iron oxyhydroxide nanoparticles (IOHNPs) coated with sucrose (Venofer®), or iron salts (ferric ammonium citrate -FAC), to treat and/or prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. At non-cytotoxic doses, IONPs and IOHNPs impaired virus replication and transcription, and the production of infectious viruses in vitro, either when the cells were treated prior to or after infection, although with different efficiencies. Moreover, our data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection affects the expression of genes involved in cellular iron metabolism. Furthermore, the treatment of cells with IONPs and IOHNPs affects oxidative stress and iron metabolism to different extents, likely influencing virus replication and production. Interestingly, some of the nanoparticles used in this work have already been approved for their use in humans as anti-anemic treatments, such as the IOHNP Venofer®, and as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging in small animals like mice, such as the FeraSpin™ R IONP.
CONCLUSIONS: Therefore, our results suggest that IONPs and IOHNPs may be repurposed to be used as prophylactic or therapeutic treatments in order to combat SARS-CoV-2 infection.