SARS-CoV-2 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) induces uncontrolled lung inflammation and coagulopathy with high mortality. Anti-viral drugs and monoclonal antibodies reduce early COVID-19 severity, but treatments for late-stage immuno-thrombotic syndromes and long COVID are limited. Serine protease inhibitors (SERPINS) regulate activated proteases. The myxoma virus-derived Serp-1 protein is a secreted immunomodulatory serpin that targets activated thrombotic, thrombolytic, and complement proteases as a self-defense strategy to combat clearance. Serp-1 is effective in multiple animal models of inflammatory lung disease and vasculitis. Here, we describe systemic treatment with purified PEGylated Serp-1 as a therapy for immuno-coagulopathic complications during ARDS. Treatment with PEGSerp-1 in two mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2 models in C57Bl/6 and BALB/c mice reduced lung and heart inflammation, with improved outcomes. PEGSerp-1 significantly reduced M1 macrophages in the lung and heart by modifying urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), thrombotic proteases, and complement membrane attack complex (MAC). Sequential changes in gene expression for uPAR and serpins (complement and plasminogen inhibitors) were observed. PEGSerp-1 is a highly effective immune-modulator with therapeutic potential for severe viral ARDS, immuno-coagulopathic responses, and Long COVID.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine