Researchers identify small molecules that block COVID-19Date: 15 June 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
The team of researchers have identified that a set of small molecules that can block the activity of a key protein in SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, a finding that provides a promising path for new therapeutics for the disease.
Antiviral drugs are a class of medication used for treating viral infections. Most anti-virals target specific viruses, while a broad-spectrum antiviral is effective against a wide range of viruses. Unlike most antibiotics, antiviral drugs do not destroy their target pathogen; instead they inhibit their development.
The researchers noted that the SARS-CoV-2 protein PLpro is essential for the replication and the ability of the virus to suppress host immune function.
The compounds, naphthalene-based PLpro inhibitors, are shown to be effective at halting SARS-CoV-2 PLpro activity as well as replication.
The researchers explored inhibitors designed to knock out PLpro and stop the replication of the virus. They began with a series of compounds that were discovered 12 years ago and shown to be effective against SARS, but development was cut short since SARS had not reappeared.
The compounds offer a potential rapid development path to generating PLpro-targeted therapeutics for use against SARS-CoV-2.
The kind of small molecules that are being developed are some of the first that are specifically designed for the coronavirus protease.
Up till now, most therapeutic work against SARS has targeted another virulence factor, C3Lpro.The aim is to turn this into a starting point for creating a drug.