A Polyvalent Nano-Lectin Potently Neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 by Targeting Glycans on the Viral Spike Protein

01 November 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Mutations in spike (S) protein epitopes allow SARS-CoV-2 variants to evade antibody responses induced by infection and/or vaccination. In contrast, glycosylation sites in the S protein are conserved across SARS-CoV-2 variants, making glycans a potential robust target for developing antivirals. However, this target has not been adequately exploited for SARS-CoV-2, mostly due to intrinsically weak monovalent protein-glycan inter-actions. We hypothesize that polyvalent nano-lectins with flexibly linked carbohydrate-recognition-domains (CRDs) can adjust their relative positions and bind multivalently to S protein glycans, potentially exerting potent antiviral activity. Herein, we displayed the CRDs of DC-SIGN, a dendritic cell lectin known to bind to diverse viruses, polyvalently onto 13 nm gold nanoparticles (named as G13-CRD). G13-CRD bound strongly and specifically to target glycan-coated quantum dots with sub-nM Kd. Moreover, G13-CRD neutralized particles pseudo-typed with the S proteins of Wuhan Hu-1, B1, Delta variant and Omicron subvariant BA.1 with low nM EC50. In contrast, natural tetrameric DC-SIGN and its G13 conjugate were ineffective. Further, G13-CRD potently and completely inhibited authentic SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan Hu-1 and BA.1, with <10 pM and <10 nM EC50, respectively. These results identify G13-CRD as a polyvalent nano-lectin with broad activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants that merits further exploration as a novel approach to antiviral therapy.


polyvalent nano-lectin
viral neutralisation
broad spectrum antivirals
Omicron variant
Spike protein

Supplementary materials

PNL paper supporting information
Experimental details and supporting figures of the PNL antiviral paper


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