ISSN Print 2713-2757    ISSN Online 2713-2765
Extreme Medicine

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The efficacy of mefloquine has not been studied in the in vivo experiments and clinical trials involving COVID-19 patients. The study was aimed to assess  the effects of mefloquine on the SARS-CoV-2 accumulation in the lungs of infected animals and to study the efficacy and safety of mefloquine compared to hydroxychloroquine in patients with COVID-19. During the experiment, a total of 96 Syrian hamsters were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Accumulation of the virus in lungs was compared in the groups of animals treated with mefloquine and ribavirin   and in the control group. During the clinical trial, the mefloquine and hydroxychloroquine safety and efficacy in patients with mild and moderate COVID-19 (172 individuals) was assessed based on the symptom changes over time and the computed tomography results. The experiment showed that the SARS-CoV-2 accumulation in the lungs of Syrian hamsters 6 days after infection and mefloquine treatment was 2.2 ± 0.18 lg PFU/g, which was lower (p < 0.05) than in the control group (3.5 ± 0.21 lg PFU/g) and ribavirin group (5.2 ± 0.05 lg PFU/g). During the clinical trial, it was found that 50.0% of patients in the mefloquine group and 32.4% in the hydroxychloroquine group (р < 0.05) developed a mild disease, and the completely resolved respiratory failure was registered in 76.5% and 44.6%, respectively (р < 0.001). Adverse events were observed in 86.7 % and 77% of patients in the mefloquine and hydroxychloroquine groups, respectively (р > 0.05). Thus, during the experiment, mefloquine contributed to the faster virus titer reduction in the lungs. During the clinical trial, the mefloquine efficacy was non-inferiority or, based on a number of indicators, higher compared to hydroxychloroquine, with comparable safety.
The Klebsiella pneumoniae bacterium is capable of causing the broad range of human nosocomial infections associated with antibiotic resistance and high mortality. Virulent bacteriophage therapy is one of the promising alternatives to antibiotic treatment of such infections. The study was aimed to isolate virulent bacteriophages effective against the relevant clinical K. pneumoniae strains, and to perform the molecular genetic characterization of these phages. Bacteriophages were isolated from the river water samples using the enrichment method. The whole-genome sequencing was performed on the MiSeq platform (Illumina). Three novel K. pneumoniae bacteriophages belonging to families Autographiviridae (vB_KpnP_NER40, GenBank MZ602146) and Myoviridae (vB_KpnM_VIK251, GenBank MZ602147; vB_KpnM_FRZ284, GenBank MZ602148) have been isolated and characterized. On the collection of 105 K. pneumoniae clinical strains, it has been found that bacteriophages vB_KpnP_NER40 and vB_KpnM_VIK251 have a narrow lytic spectrum (22% and 11%), which is limited to strains of the capsular types К2 and К20 respectively. In contrast, bacteriophage vB_KpnM_FRZ284 has a broad lytic spectrum (37%), causing the lysis of strains with different types of capsular polysaccharide. The phages are strictly virulent and have no genes encoding integrases, toxins or pathogenicity factors in their genomes. Genes of depolymerases, encoding the potential receptor binding proteins, have been found in the genomes of the capsular-specific bacteriophages vB_KpnP_NER40 and vB_KpnM_VIK251. The cocktail of three bacteriophages has lysed about 65% of the studied collection of K. рneumoniae strain and is potentially applicable for therapeutic purposes.

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The development of coronavirus infection outbreak into a pandemic, coupled with the lack of effective COVID-19 therapies, is a challenge for the entire pharmaceutical industry. This study aimed to assess the treatment and preventive efficacy of the amino acid-peptide complex (APC) in male Syrian hamsters infected with SARSCoV-2 (intranasal administration of 26 μl of the virus culture, titer of 4 × 104 TCD50/ml). In a modeled COVID-19 case, APC administered for treatment and preventive purposes reduced lung damage. Compared to the positive control group, test group had the lung weight factor 15.2% smaller (trend), which indicates a less pronounced edema. Microscopic examination revealed no alveolar edema, atypical hypertrophied forms of type II alveolocytes, pulmonary parenchyma fibrinization. The macrophage reaction intensified, which is probably a result of the APC-induced activation of regenerative processes in the lung tissues. Spleens of the animals that received APC for therapeutic and preventive purposes were less engorged and had fewer hemorrhages. The decrease of body weight of the test animals that received APC for treatment and prevention was insignificant (p < 0.05), which indicates a less severe course of COVID-19. Administered following a purely therapeutic protocol, APC proved ineffective against SARS-CoV-2 post-infection. Thus, APC-based drug used as a therapeutic and preventive agent reduces pulmonary edema and makes morphological signs of lung tissue damage less pronounced in male Syrian hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2.