Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an acute infectious disease caused by a novel phlebovirus (SFTSV), characterized by fever, thrombocytopenia and leukocytopenia which lead to multiple organ failure with high mortality in severe cases. The SFTSV has spread rapidly in recent years and posed a serious threat to public health in endemic areas. However, specific antiviral therapeutics for SFTSV infection are rare. In this study, we demonstrated that two peptides, SGc1 and SGc8, derived from a hydrophobic region of the SFTSV glycoprotein Gc, could potently inhibit SFTSV replication in a dose-dependent manner without apparent cytotoxicity in various cell lines and with low immunogenicity and good stability. The IC (50% inhibition concentration) values for both peptides to inhibit 2 MOI of SFTSV infection were below 10 μM in L02, Vero and BHK21 cells. Mechanistically, SGc1 and SGc8 mainly inhibited viral entry at the early stage of the viral infection. Inhibition of SFTSV replication was specific by both peptides because no inhibitory effect was shown against other viruses including Zika virus and Enterovirus A71. Taken together, our results suggested that viral glycoprotein-derived SGc1 and SGc8 peptides have antiviral potential and warrant further assessment as an SFTSV-specific therapeutic.
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