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ISSN (Print): 2666-7967
ISSN (Online): 2666-7975

Research Article

Virtual Screening of Potential Therapeutic Inhibitors Against Spike, Helicase, and Polymerase of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

Author(s): Ayesha Tazeen, Farah Deeba, Aftab Alam, Rafat Ali, Romana Ishrat, Anwar Ahmed, Sher Ali and Shama Parveen*

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2021

Published on: 26 August, 2020

Page: [89 - 105] Pages: 17

DOI: 10.2174/2666796701999200826114306


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected around 13 million people and has caused more than 5.7 lakh deaths worldwide since December 2019. In the absence of FDA approved drugs for its treatment, only symptomatic management is done.

Methods: We attempted to uncover potential therapeutic targets of spike, helicase, and RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 employing a computational approach. The PDB structure of spike and RdRp and predicted structure of helicase proteins were docked with 100 approved anti-viral drugs, natural compounds, and some other chemical compounds.

Results: The anti-SARS ligands EK1 and CID 23631927, and NCGC00029283 are potential entry inhibitors as they showed affinity with immunogenic Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of the spike protein. This RBD interacts with Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE2) receptor, facilitating the entry of virion in the host cells. The FDA approved drugs, including Nelfinavir, Saquinavir, Tipranavir, Setrobuvir, Indinavir, and Atazanavir, showed potential inhibitory activity against targeted domains and thus, may act as entry or replication inhibitor or both. Furthermore, several anti-HCoV natural compounds, including Amentoflavone, Rutin, and Tannin, are also potential entry and replication inhibitors as they showed affinity with RBD, P-loop containing nucleoside triphosphate hydrolase, and the catalytic domain of the respective protein. Dithymoquinone showed significant inhibitory potential against the fusion peptide of S2 domain. Importantly, Tannin, Dithymoquinone, and Rutin can be extracted from Nigella sativa seeds and thus, may prove to be one of the most potential anti-SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors.

Conclusion: Several potential ligands were identified with already known anti-HCoVs activities. Furthermore, as this study showed that some of the ligands acted as both entry and replication inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2, it is envisaged that a combination of either inhibitor with a dual mode of action would prove to be a much desired therapeutic option against this viral infection.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, spike, helicase, RdRp, virtual screening, potential inhibitors, drug repurposing, natural compounds

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