N-chlorotaurine (NCT) is a long-lived oxidant generated in activated cells of the innate immune system, namely neutrophilic and eosinophilic granulocytes and monocytes. NCT acts as an antiseptic agent that can be synthesized chemically and applied topically on different infected body sites. Even treatment of the lower respiratory tract via inhalation, which has been in development in the last years, was well tolerated in a recent phase I clinical trial. In this study, we demonstrate the activity of NCT against viruses causing acute respiratory tract infections, in fact severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), influenza viruses, and respiratory syncytial virus.
NCT revealed broad virucidal activity against all viruses tested. In the presence of organic proteinaceous material simulating body fluids, this activity was enhanced by transchlorination mechanisms so that significant inactivation of viruses could be achieved within 1 – 10 minutes.
Inhalation of 1.0% NCT as a prophylactic and therapeutic strategy against acute viral respiratory tract infections deserves comprehensive clinical investigation.