Older people exhibit dysregulated innate immunity to respiratory viral infections, including influenza and SARS-CoV-2, and show an increase in morbidity and mortality. Nanoparticles are a potential practical therapeutic that could reduce exaggerated innate immune responses within the lungs during viral infection. However, such therapeutics have not been examined for effectiveness during respiratory viral infection, particular in aged hosts. Here, we employed a lethal model of influenza viral infection in vulnerable aged mice to examine the ability of biodegradable, cargo-free nanoparticles, designated ONP-302, to resolve innate immune dysfunction and improve outcomes during infection. We administered ONP-302 via i.v. injection to aged mice at day 3 after infection, when the hyperinflammatory innate immune response was already established. During infection, we found that ONP-302 treatment reduced the numbers of inflammatory monocytes within the lungs and increased their number in both the liver and spleen, without impacting viral clearance. Importantly, cargo-free nanoparticles reduced lung damage, reduced histological lung inflammation, and improved gas exchange and, ultimately, the clinical outcomes in influenza-infected aged mice. In conclusion, ONP-302 improves outcomes in influenza-infected aged mice. Thus, our study provides information concerning a practical therapeutic, which, if translated clinically, could improve disease outcomes for vulnerable older patients suffering from respiratory viral infections.
William J. Kelley, Kathleen M. Wragg, Judy Chen, Tushar Murthy, Qichen Xu, Michael T. Boyne, Joseph R. Podojil, Adam Elhofy, Daniel R. Goldstein