Background: Hepatitis C is a significant cause for end-stage liver diseases and liver
transplantation which affects approximately 3% of the global populations. Despite the current several
direct antiviral agents in the treatment of Hepatitis C, the standard treatment for HCV infection is
accompanied by several drawbacks, such as adverse side effects, high pricing of medications and the
rapid emerging rate of resistant HCV variants.
Objectives: To discover potential inhibitors for HCV helicase through an optimized in silico approach.
Methods: In this study, a homology model (HCV Genotype 3 helicase) was used as the target and
screened through a benzopyran-based virtual library. Multiple-seedings of AutoDock Vina and in situ
minimization were to account for the non-deterministic nature of AutoDock Vina search algorithm and
binding site flexibility, respectively. ADME/T and interaction analyses were also done on the top hits
via FAFDRUG3 web server and Discovery Studio 4.5.
Results: This study involved the development of an improved flow for virtual screening via
implemention of multiple-seeding screening approach and in situ minimization. With the new docking
protocol, the redocked standards have shown better RMSD value in reference to their native
conformations. Ten benzopyran-like compounds with satisfactory physicochemical properties were
discovered to be potential inhibitors of HCV helicase. ZINC38649350 was identified as the most
Conclusion: Ten potential HCV helicase inhibitors were discovered via a new docking optimization
protocol with better docking accuracy. These findings could contribute to the discovery of novel HCV
antivirals and serve as an alternative approach of in silico rational drug discovery.