Low concentrations of a specific metabolite in diabetics may
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The severity and mortality of COVID-19 are associated with pre-existing medical comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus. However, the underlying causes for increased susceptibility to viral infection in patients with diabetes is not fully understood. Here we identify several small-molecule metabolites from human blood with effective antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, one of which, 1,5-anhydro-D-glucitol (1,5-AG), is associated with diabetes mellitus. The serum 1,5-AG level is significantly lower in patients with diabetes. In vitro, the level of SARS-CoV-2 replication is higher in the presence of serum from patients with diabetes than from healthy individuals and this is counteracted by supplementation of 1,5-AG to the serum from patients. Diabetic (db/db) mice undergo SARS-CoV-2 infection accompanied by much higher viral loads and more severe respiratory tissue damage when compared to wild-type mice. Sustained supplementation of 1,5-AG in diabetic mice reduces SARS-CoV-2 loads and disease severity to similar levels in nondiabetic mice. Mechanistically, 1,5-AG directly binds the S2 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, thereby interrupting spike-mediated virus–host membrane fusion. Our results reveal a mechanism that contributes to COVID-19 pathogenesis in the diabetic population and suggest that 1,5-AG supplementation may be beneficial to diabetic patients against severe COVID-19.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s42255-022-00567-z