Preinfection chloroquine treatment renders Vero E6 cells refractory to SARS-CoV infection
In order to investigate if chloroquine might prevent SARS-CoV infection, permissive Vero E6 cells  were pretreated with various concentrations of chloroquine (0.1–10 μM) for 20–24 h prior to virus infection. Cells were then infected with SARS-CoV, and virus antigens were visualized by indirect immunofluorescence as described in Materials and Methods. Microscopic examination (Fig. (Fig.1A)1A) of the control cells (untreated, infected) revealed extensive SARS-CoV-specific immunostaining of the monolayer. A dose-dependant decrease in virus antigen-positive cells was observed starting at 0.1 μM chloroquine, and concentrations of 10 μM completely abolished SARS-CoV infection. For quantitative purposes, we counted the number of cells stained positive from three random locations on a slide. The average number of positively stained control cells was scored as 100% and was compared with the number of positive cells observed under various chloroquine concentrations (Fig. (Fig.1B).1B). Pretreatment with 0.1, 1, and 10 μM chloroquine reduced infectivity by 28%, 53%, and 100%, respectively. Reproducible results were obtained from three independent experiments. These data demonstrated that pretreatment of Vero E6 cells with chloroquine rendered these cells refractory to SARS-CoV infection.