Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection accounts for approximately 64 million cases of respiratory disease and 200,000 deaths worldwide each year, yet no broadly effective prophylactic or treatment regimen is available. RSV deploys paired, self-associating, heptad repeat domains of its fusion protein, RSV-F, to form a fusogenic 6-helix bundle that enables the virus to penetrate the host cell membrane. Here, we developed hydrocarbon double-stapled RSV fusion peptides that exhibit stabilized α-helical structure and striking proteolytic resistance. Pretreatment with double-stapled RSV peptides that specifically bound to the RSV fusion bundle inhibited infection by both laboratory and clinical RSV isolates in cells and murine infection models. Intranasal delivery of a lead double-stapled RSV peptide effectively prevented viral infection of the nares. A chitosan-based nanoparticle preparation markedly enhanced pulmonary delivery, further preventing progression of RSV infection to the lung. Thus, our results provide a strategy for inhibiting RSV infection by mucosal and endotracheal delivery of double-stapled RSV fusion peptides.
Gregory H. Bird, Sandhya Boyapalle, Terianne Wong, Kwadwo Opoku-Nsiah, Raminder Bedi, W. Christian Crannell, Alisa F. Perry, Huy Nguyen, Viviana Sampayo, Ankita Devareddy, Subhra Mohapatra, Shyam S. Mohapatra, Loren D. Walensky