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Mucin‐Inspired Single‐Chain Polymer (MIP) Fibers as Potent SARS‐CoV‐2 Inhibitors

Mucins are the key component of the defensive mucus barrier. They are extended fibers of very high molecular weight with diverse biological functions depending strongly on their specific structural parameters. Here, we present a mucin-inspired nanostructure, produced via a synthetic methodology to prepare methacrylate-based dendronized polysulfates (MIP-1) on a multi gram scale with relatively high molecular weight (MW = 450 kDa) and thiol end-functionalized mucin-inspired polymer (MIP) via RAFT polymerization. Cryo-electron tomography (Cryo-ET) analysis of MIP-1 confirmed a mucin-mimetic wormlike single-chain fiber structure (length = 144.5 ± 59.4 nm) in aqueous solution. This biocompatible fiber showed promising activity against SARS-CoV-2 and its mutant strain, with a remarkable low half maximal (IC50) inhibitory concentration (IC50 = 10.0 nM). Additionally, we investigate the impact of fiber length on SARS-CoV-2 inhibition by testing other functional polymers (MIPs) of varying fiber lengths.

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