Genetic Conservation of SARS-CoV-2 RNA Replication Complex in Globally Circulating Isolates from Humans and Minks Predicts Minimal Pre-Existing Resistance to Remdesivir [article]

Ross Martin, Jason Perry, Tomas Cihlar, Hongmei Mo, Danielle P Porter, Evguenia S Svarovskaia
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Remdesivir (RDV) exhibits potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 and is currently the only drug approved for the treatment of COVID-19. However, little is currently known about the potential for pre-existing resistance to RDV and the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 genetic diversification that might impact RDV efficacy as the virus continue to spread globally. In this study, > 90,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences from globally circulating clinical isolates and >300 from mink isolates collected through
more » ... collected through early September 2020 were analyzed for genetic diversity in the RNA replication complex (nsp7, nsp8, nsp10, nsp12, nsp13, and nsp14) with a focus on the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (nsp12), the molecular target of RDV. Overall, low genetic variation was observed with only 12 amino acid substitutions present in the entire RNA replication complex in ≥0.5% of analyzed sequences with the highest overall frequency (82.2%) observed for nsp12 P323L that consistently increased over time. Low sequence variation in the RNA replication complex was also observed among the mink isolates. Importantly, the coronavirus Nsp12 mutations previously selected in vitro in the presence of RDV were identified in only 2 isolates (0.002%) within all the analyzed sequences. In addition, among the sequence variants observed in ≥0.5% clinical isolates, including P323L, none were located near the established polymerase active site or sites critical for the RDV mechanism of inhibition. In summary, the low diversity and high genetic stability of the RNA replication complex observed over time predicts a minimal global risk of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 resistance to RDV.
doi:10.1101/2020.12.19.423600 fatcat:wzpfs4uzozdmrdfmjj6hyaya2a