Bacteriophage-Derived Double-Stranded RNA Exerts Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activity In Vitro and in Golden Syrian Hamsters In Vivo

Kristine Vaivode, Irina Verhovcova, Dace Skrastina, Ramona Petrovska, Madara Kreismane, Daira Lapse, Zane Kalnina, Kristine Salmina, Diana Rubene, Dace Pjanova (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bacteriophage-derived dsRNA, known as Larifan, is a nationally well-known broad-spectrum antiviral medication. This study aimed to ascertain the antiviral activity of Larifan against the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. Larifan’s effect against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro was measured in human lung adenocarcinoma (Calu3) and primary human small airway epithelial cells (HSAEC), and in vivo in the SARS-CoV-2 infection model in golden Syrian hamsters. Larifan inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication both in vitro and in vivo. Viral RNA copy numbers and titer of infectious virus in the supernatant of Calu3 cells dropped significantly: p = 0.0296 and p = 0.0286, respectively. A reduction in viral RNA copy number was also observed in HSAEC, especially when Larifan was added before infection (p = 0.0218). Larifan markedly reduced virus numbers in infected hamsters’ lungs post-infection, with a more pronounced effect after intranasal administration (p = 0.0032). The administration of Larifan also reduced the amount of infections virus titer in the lungs (p = 0.0039). Improvements in the infection-induced pathological lesion severity in the lungs of animals treated with Larifan were also demonstrated. The inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro and the reduction in the viral load in the lungs of infected hamsters treated with Larifan alongside the improved lung histopathology suggests a potential use of Larifan in also controlling the COVID-19 disease in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1053
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • antiviral drug
  • bacteriophage-derived dsRNA
  • COVID-19
  • dsRNA
  • SARS-CoV-2

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.4 Medical biotechnology
  • 1.6 Biological sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


Dive into the research topics of 'Bacteriophage-Derived Double-Stranded RNA Exerts Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activity In Vitro and in Golden Syrian Hamsters In Vivo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this