In the study, researchers tested copper gluconate using Vero E6 cells against SARS-CoV-2. The researchers used the cell system exposed to synthetic SARS-CoV-2, with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) as the reporter. They tested for toxicity and found that up to concentrations of 200 µM, Vero cells remained intact and fell sharply from 400 µM concentrations. The Vero E6 cells were treated with copper gluconate from 0 to 100 µM at 18 hours and then infected with the virus. After an hour, they were exposed to a fresh culture medium with the same copper gluconate concentration for 48 hours more.
The results revealed that cells treated with copper gluconate at 25 µM or more had a 70% lower infection rated. Copper gluconate may damage the viral membranes and denature the viral genome. A decrease in the mean fluorescent intensity was noted as the copper concentration increased. The GFP is fused to the nsp7 protein in the recombinant SARS-CoV-2, this might indicate that copper disrupts the production of viral proteins. Another possible explanation for this antiviral effect could be increased Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1 expression, which is linked to reduced viral replication.
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