Contributing to research themes:
Patients with cardiovascular comorbidities are more susceptible to severe infection with SARS-CoV-2, known to directly cause pathological damage to cardiovascular tissue. We outline a screening platform using human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes, confirmed to express the protein machinery critical for SARS-CoV-2 infection, and a SARS-CoV-2 spike-pseudotyped virus system. The method has allowed us to identify benztropine and DX600 as novel inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a clinically relevant stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte line. Discovery of new medicines will be critical for protecting the heart in patients with SARS-CoV-2, and for individuals where vaccination is contraindicated.