Background: COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees, and there is an urgent
need for new strategies to identify molecules capable of fighting the pandemic. During
the last few decades, NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectroscopy has emerged
as an intriguing structural biology instrument in the antiviral drug discovery field.
Objective: The review highlights how a variety of NMR-based tools can be employed to
better understand viral machineries, develop anti-viral agents and set-up diagnostic and
Methods: Works summarized herein were searched through PubMed database and the
Results: The review focuses on a subset of human viruses that have been largely studied
through NMR techniques. Indeed, NMR solid- or solution-state methodologies allow to
gain structural information on viral proteins and viral genomes either in isolation or
bound to diverse binding partners. NMR data can be employed to set up structure-based
approaches to design efficient antiviral agents inhibiting crucial steps of viral life cycle.
In addition, NMR-based metabolomics analyses of biofluids from virus-infected patients
let identify metabolites biomarkers of the disease and follow changes in metabolic profiles
associated with antiviral therapy thus paving the way for novel diagnostic and therapeutic
Conclusion: Considering the NMR-based work conducted on different viruses, we believe
that in the near future, much more NMR efforts will be devoted to discovering novel
anti SARS-CoV-2 agents.