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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-307686

ABSTRACT

A worldwide effort is ongoing to discover drugs against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which has so far caused >3.5 million fatalities (https://covid19.who.int/). The virus essential RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex is targeted by several nucleoside/tide analogues whose mechanisms of action and clinical potential are currently evaluated. The guanosine analogue AT-527, a double prodrug of its 5'-triphosphate AT-9010, is currently in phase III clinical trials as a COVID19 treatment. Here we report the cryo-EM structure at 2.98 Å resolution of the SARS-CoV-2 nsp12-nsp7-(nsp8)2 complex with RNA showing AT-9010 bound at three sites of nsp12. At the RdRp active-site, one AT-9010 is incorporated into the RNA product. Its 2'-methyl group prevents correct alignment of a second AT-9010 occupying the incoming NTP pocket. The 2'-F, 2'-methyl 3'-OH ribose scaffold explains the non-obligate RNA chain-termination potency of this NA series for both HCV NS5 and SARS-CoV RTCs. A third AT-9010 molecule 5'-diphosphate binds to a coronavirus-specific pocket in the nsp12 N-terminus NiRAN domain, a SelO pseudo-kinase structural and functional homologue. This unique binding mode impedes NiRAN-mediated UMPylation of SARS-CoV-2 nsp8 and nsp9 proteins. Our results suggest a mechanism of action for AT-527 in line with a therapeutic use for COVID19.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312254

ABSTRACT

One year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the origin of SARS-CoV-2 still eludes humanity. Early publications firmly stated that the virus was of natural origin, and the possibility that the virus might have escaped from a lab was discarded in most subsequent publications. However, based on a re-analysis of the initial arguments, highlighted by the current knowledge about the virus, we show that the natural origin is not supported by conclusive arguments, and that a lab origin cannot be formally discarded. We call for an opening of peer-reviewed journals to a rational, evidence-based and prejudice-free evaluation of all the reasonable hypotheses about the virus' origin. We advocate that this debate should take place in the columns of renowned scientific journals, rather than being left to social media and newspapers.

3.
Molecules ; 27(3)2022 Feb 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686900

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, has led to a pandemic, that continues to be a huge public health burden. Despite the availability of vaccines, there is still a need for small-molecule antiviral drugs. In an effort to identify novel and drug-like hit matter that can be used for subsequent hit-to-lead optimization campaigns, we conducted a high-throughput screening of a 160 K compound library against SARS-CoV-2, yielding a 1-heteroaryl-2-alkoxyphenyl analog as a promising hit. Antiviral profiling revealed this compound was active against various beta-coronaviruses and preliminary mode-of-action experiments demonstrated that it interfered with viral entry. A systematic structure-activity relationship (SAR) study demonstrated that a 3- or 4-pyridyl moiety on the oxadiazole moiety is optimal, whereas the oxadiazole can be replaced by various other heteroaromatic cycles. In addition, the alkoxy group tolerates some structural diversity.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Heterocyclic Compounds/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Structure-Activity Relationship , Vero Cells
4.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 621, 2022 02 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671551

ABSTRACT

The guanosine analog AT-527 represents a promising candidate against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2). AT-527 recently entered phase III clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19. Once in cells, AT-527 is converted into its triphosphate form, AT-9010, that presumably targets the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp, nsp12), for incorporation into viral RNA. Here we report a 2.98 Å cryo-EM structure of the SARS-CoV-2 nsp12-nsp7-nsp82-RNA complex, showing AT-9010 bound at three sites of nsp12. In the RdRp active-site, one AT-9010 is incorporated at the 3' end of the RNA product strand. Its modified ribose group (2'-fluoro, 2'-methyl) prevents correct alignment of the incoming NTP, in this case a second AT-9010, causing immediate termination of RNA synthesis. The third AT-9010 is bound to the N-terminal domain of nsp12 - known as the NiRAN. In contrast to native NTPs, AT-9010 is in a flipped orientation in the active-site, with its guanine base unexpectedly occupying a previously unnoticed cavity. AT-9010 outcompetes all native nucleotides for NiRAN binding, inhibiting its nucleotidyltransferase activity. The dual mechanism of action of AT-527 at both RdRp and NiRAN active sites represents a promising research avenue against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Guanosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Phosphoramides/chemistry , Phosphoramides/pharmacology , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Viral Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Viral Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Guanosine Monophosphate/chemistry , Guanosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Humans , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
5.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(49)2021 12 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541316

ABSTRACT

As coronaviruses (CoVs) replicate in the host cell cytoplasm, they rely on their own capping machinery to ensure the efficient translation of their messenger RNAs (mRNAs), protect them from degradation by cellular 5' exoribonucleases (ExoNs), and escape innate immune sensing. The CoV nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14) is a bifunctional replicase subunit harboring an N-terminal 3'-to-5' ExoN domain and a C-terminal (N7-guanine)-methyltransferase (N7-MTase) domain that is presumably involved in viral mRNA capping. Here, we aimed to integrate structural, biochemical, and virological data to assess the importance of conserved N7-MTase residues for nsp14's enzymatic activities and virus viability. We revisited the crystal structure of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV nsp14 to perform an in silico comparative analysis between betacoronaviruses. We identified several residues likely involved in the formation of the N7-MTase catalytic pocket, which presents a fold distinct from the Rossmann fold observed in most known MTases. Next, for SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV, site-directed mutagenesis of selected residues was used to assess their importance for in vitro enzymatic activity. Most of the engineered mutations abolished N7-MTase activity, while not affecting nsp14-ExoN activity. Upon reverse engineering of these mutations into different betacoronavirus genomes, we identified two substitutions (R310A and F426A in SARS-CoV nsp14) abrogating virus viability and one mutation (H424A) yielding a crippled phenotype across all viruses tested. Our results identify the N7-MTase as a critical enzyme for betacoronavirus replication and define key residues of its catalytic pocket that can be targeted to design inhibitors with a potential pan-coronaviral activity spectrum.


Subject(s)
Exoribonucleases/chemistry , Models, Molecular , Protein Conformation , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Amino Acid Sequence , Base Sequence , Binding Sites , Catalytic Domain , Conserved Sequence , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Microbial Viability , Nucleotide Motifs , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins , Structure-Activity Relationship , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/genetics
6.
Elife ; 102021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1456505

ABSTRACT

The absence of 'shovel-ready' anti-coronavirus drugs during vaccine development has exceedingly worsened the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Furthermore, new vaccine-resistant variants and coronavirus outbreaks may occur in the near future, and we must be ready to face this possibility. However, efficient antiviral drugs are still lacking to this day, due to our poor understanding of the mode of incorporation and mechanism of action of nucleotides analogs that target the coronavirus polymerase to impair its essential activity. Here, we characterize the impact of remdesivir (RDV, the only FDA-approved anti-coronavirus drug) and other nucleotide analogs (NAs) on RNA synthesis by the coronavirus polymerase using a high-throughput, single-molecule, magnetic-tweezers platform. We reveal that the location of the modification in the ribose or in the base dictates the catalytic pathway(s) used for its incorporation. We show that RDV incorporation does not terminate viral RNA synthesis, but leads the polymerase into backtrack as far as 30 nt, which may appear as termination in traditional ensemble assays. SARS-CoV-2 is able to evade the endogenously synthesized product of the viperin antiviral protein, ddhCTP, though the polymerase incorporates this NA well. This experimental paradigm is essential to the discovery and development of therapeutics targeting viral polymerases.


To multiply and spread from cell to cell, the virus responsible for COVID-19 (also known as SARS-CoV-2) must first replicate its genetic information. This process involves a 'polymerase' protein complex making a faithful copy by assembling a precise sequence of building blocks, or nucleotides. The only drug approved against SARS-CoV-2 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), remdesivir, consists of a nucleotide analog, a molecule whose structure is similar to the actual building blocks needed for replication. If the polymerase recognizes and integrates these analogs into the growing genetic sequence, the replication mechanism is disrupted, and the virus cannot multiply. Most approaches to study this process seem to indicate that remdesivir works by stopping the polymerase and terminating replication altogether. Yet, exactly how remdesivir and other analogs impair the synthesis of new copies of the virus remains uncertain. To explore this question, Seifert, Bera et al. employed an approach called magnetic tweezers which uses a magnetic field to manipulate micro-particles with great precision. Unlike other methods, this technique allows analogs to be integrated under conditions similar to those found in cells, and to be examined at the level of a single molecule. The results show that contrary to previous assumptions, remdesivir does not terminate replication; instead, it causes the polymerase to pause and backtrack (which may appear as termination in other techniques). The same approach was then applied to other nucleotide analogs, some of which were also found to target the SARS-CoV-2 polymerase. However, these analogs are incorporated differently to remdesivir and with less efficiency. They also obstruct the polymerase in distinct ways. Taken together, the results by Seifert, Bera et al. suggest that magnetic tweezers can be a powerful approach to reveal how analogs interfere with replication. This information could be used to improve currently available analogs as well as develop new antiviral drugs that are more effective against SARS-CoV-2. This knowledge will be key at a time when treatments against COVID-19 are still lacking, and may be needed to protect against new variants and future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/antagonists & inhibitors , Nucleotides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Cell Line , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Nucleotides/metabolism , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Stochastic Processes , Virus Replication/drug effects
8.
Cell Rep ; 36(9): 109650, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363915

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses have evolved elaborate multisubunit machines to replicate and transcribe their genomes. Central to these machines are the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase subunit (nsp12) and its intimately associated cofactors (nsp7 and nsp8). We use a high-throughput magnetic-tweezers approach to develop a mechanochemical description of this core polymerase. The core polymerase exists in at least three catalytically distinct conformations, one being kinetically consistent with incorporation of incorrect nucleotides. We provide evidence that the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) uses a thermal ratchet instead of a power stroke to transition from the pre- to post-translocated state. Ultra-stable magnetic tweezers enable the direct observation of coronavirus polymerase deep and long-lived backtracking that is strongly stimulated by secondary structures in the template. The framework we present here elucidates one of the most important structure-dynamics-function relationships in human health today and will form the grounds for understanding the regulation of this complex.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/physiology , Nucleotides/metabolism , RNA, Viral/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans , Models, Molecular , Molecular Conformation , Nucleotides/chemistry , RNA, Viral/chemistry , Single Molecule Imaging , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/physiology
9.
Virologie (Montrouge) ; 25(3): 42-46, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1308206
10.
Trends Biochem Sci ; 46(11): 866-877, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1283592

ABSTRACT

With sizes <50 kb, viral RNA genomes are at the crossroads of genetic, biophysical, and biochemical stability in their host cell. Here, we analyze the enzymatic assets accompanying large RNA genome viruses, mostly based on recent scientific advances in Coronaviridae. We argue that, in addition to the presence of an RNA exonuclease (ExoN), two markers for the large size of viral RNA genomes are (i) the presence of one or more RNA methyltransferases (MTases) and (ii) a specific architecture of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase active site. We propose that RNA genome expansion and maintenance are driven by an evolutionary ménage-à-trois made of fast and processive RNA polymerases, RNA repair ExoNs, and RNA MTases that relates to the transition between RNA- to DNA-based life.


Subject(s)
RNA Viruses , Amino Acid Sequence , Genome Size , Methyltransferases , RNA Viruses/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics
12.
ACS Cent Sci ; 7(5): 792-802, 2021 May 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225483

ABSTRACT

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a global threat to human health. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we identified and validated the hepatitis C virus (HCV) protease inhibitor simeprevir as an especially promising repurposable drug for treating COVID-19. Simeprevir potently reduces SARS-CoV-2 viral load by multiple orders of magnitude and synergizes with remdesivir in vitro. Mechanistically, we showed that simeprevir not only inhibits the main protease (Mpro) and unexpectedly the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) but also modulates host immune responses. Our results thus reveal the possible anti-SARS-CoV-2 mechanism of simeprevir and highlight the translational potential of optimizing simeprevir as a therapeutic agent for managing COVID-19 and future outbreaks of CoV.

13.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother ; 65(4)2021 03 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1159599

ABSTRACT

The impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, is global and unprecedented. Although remdesivir has recently been approved by the FDA to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection, no oral antiviral is available for outpatient treatment. AT-527, an orally administered double prodrug of a guanosine nucleotide analog, was previously shown to be highly efficacious and well tolerated in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected subjects. Here, we report the potent in vitro activity of AT-511, the free base of AT-527, against several coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. In normal human airway epithelial cells, the concentration of AT-511 required to inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2 by 90% (EC90) was 0.47 µM, very similar to its EC90 against human coronavirus (HCoV)-229E, HCoV-OC43, and SARS-CoV in Huh-7 cells. Little to no cytotoxicity was observed for AT-511 at concentrations up to 100 µM. Substantial levels of the active triphosphate metabolite AT-9010 were formed in normal human bronchial and nasal epithelial cells incubated with 10 µM AT-511 (698 ± 15 and 236 ± 14 µM, respectively), with a half-life of at least 38 h. Results from steady-state pharmacokinetic and tissue distribution studies of nonhuman primates administered oral doses of AT-527, as well as pharmacokinetic data from subjects given daily oral doses of AT-527, predict that twice daily oral doses of 550 mg AT-527 will produce AT-9010 trough concentrations in human lung that exceed the EC90 observed for the prodrug against SARS-CoV-2 replication. This suggests that AT-527 may be an effective treatment option for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Guanosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Guanosine/pharmacology , Phosphoramides/pharmacology , Prodrugs/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Administration, Oral , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus 229E, Human/metabolism , Coronavirus OC43, Human/metabolism , Cricetinae , Epithelial Cells/virology , Guanosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Humans , Lung/virology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
14.
Trends Immunol ; 42(1): 31-44, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065238

ABSTRACT

The majority of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected individuals remain paucisymptomatic, contrasting with a minority of infected individuals in danger of death. Here, we speculate that the robust disease resistance of most individuals is due to a swift production of type I interferon (IFNα/ß), presumably sufficient to lower the viremia. A minority of infected individuals with a preexisting chronic inflammatory state fail to mount this early efficient response, leading to a delayed harmful inflammatory response. To improve the epidemiological scenario, we propose combining: (i) the development of efficient antivirals administered early enough to assist in the production of endogenous IFNα/ß; (ii) potentiating early IFN responses; (iii) administering anti-inflammatory treatments when needed, but not too early to interfere with endogenous antiviral responses.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Factors/immunology , Interferon Type I/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Humans , Immunologic Factors/metabolism , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Interferon Type I/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/immunology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/immunology
16.
J Virol Methods ; 288: 114013, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-912400

ABSTRACT

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) emergence in 2003 introduced the first serious human coronavirus pathogen to an unprepared world. To control emerging viruses, existing successful anti(retro)viral therapies can inspire antiviral strategies, as conserved viral enzymes (eg., viral proteases and RNA-dependent RNA polymerases) represent targets of choice. Since 2003, much effort has been expended in the characterization of the SARS-CoV replication/transcription machinery. Until recently, a pure and highly active preparation of SARS-CoV recombinant RNA synthesis machinery was not available, impeding target-based high throughput screening of drug candidates against this viral family. The current Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic revealed a new pathogen whose RNA synthesis machinery is highly (>96 % aa identity) homologous to SARS-CoV. This phylogenetic relatedness highlights the potential use of conserved replication enzymes to discover inhibitors against this significant pathogen, which in turn, contributes to scientific preparedness against emerging viruses. Here, we report the use of a purified and highly active SARS-CoV replication/transcription complex (RTC) to set-up a high-throughput screening of Coronavirus RNA synthesis inhibitors. The screening of a small (1520 compounds) chemical library of FDA-approved drugs demonstrates the robustness of our assay and will allow to speed-up drug discovery against the SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Fluorescent Dyes , High-Throughput Screening Assays , RNA, Viral , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS Virus/genetics , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/diagnosis , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Enzyme Activation , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , High-Throughput Screening Assays/standards , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Templates, Genetic
17.
NAR Genom Bioinform ; 2(1): lqz022, 2020 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-824972

ABSTRACT

The order Nidovirales is a diverse group of (+)RNA viruses, classified together based on their common genome organisation and conserved replicative enzymes, despite drastic differences in size and complexity. One such difference pertains to the mechanisms and enzymes responsible for generation of the proposed viral 5' RNA cap. Within the Coronaviridae family, two separate methytransferases (MTase), nsp14 and nsp16, perform the RNA-cap N7-guanine and 2'-OH methylation respectively for generation of the proposed m7GpppNm type I cap structure. For the majority of other families within the Nidovirales order, the presence, structure and key enzymes involved in 5' capping are far less clear. These viruses either lack completely an RNA MTase signature sequence, or lack an N7-guanine methyltransferase signature sequence, obscuring our understanding about how RNA-caps are N7-methylated for these families. Here, we report the discovery of a putative Rossmann fold RNA methyltransferase in 10 Tobaniviridae members in Orf1a, an unusual genome locus for this gene. Multiple sequence alignments and structural analyses lead us to propose this novel gene as a typical RNA-cap N7-guanine MTase with substrate specificity and active-site organization similar to the canonical eukaryotic RNA-cap N7-guanine MTase.

18.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 4682, 2020 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-779999

ABSTRACT

The ongoing Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), has emphasized the urgent need for antiviral therapeutics. The viral RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase (RdRp) is a promising target with polymerase inhibitors successfully used for the treatment of several viral diseases. We demonstrate here that Favipiravir predominantly exerts an antiviral effect through lethal mutagenesis. The SARS-CoV RdRp complex is at least 10-fold more active than any other viral RdRp known. It possesses both unusually high nucleotide incorporation rates and high-error rates allowing facile insertion of Favipiravir into viral RNA, provoking C-to-U and G-to-A transitions in the already low cytosine content SARS-CoV-2 genome. The coronavirus RdRp complex represents an Achilles heel for SARS-CoV, supporting nucleoside analogues as promising candidates for the treatment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Amides/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pyrazines/pharmacology , Amides/pharmacokinetics , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Models, Molecular , Mutagenesis/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Pyrazines/pharmacokinetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Analysis , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
19.
Rev Med Virol ; 30(6): 1-10, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-707429

ABSTRACT

The health emergency caused by the recent Covid-19 pandemic highlights the need to identify effective treatments against the virus causing this disease (SARS-CoV-2). The first clinical trials have been testing repurposed drugs that show promising anti-SARS-CoV-2 effects in cultured cells. Although more than 2400 clinical trials are already under way, the actual number of tested compounds is still limited to approximately 20, alone or in combination. In addition, knowledge on their mode of action (MoA) is currently insufficient. Their first results reveal some inconsistencies and contradictory results and suggest that cohort size and quality of the control arm are two key issues for obtaining rigorous and conclusive results. Moreover, the observed discrepancies might also result from differences in the clinical inclusion criteria, including the possibility of early treatment that may be essential for therapy efficacy in patients with Covid-19. Importantly, efforts should also be made to test new compounds with a documented MoA against SARS-CoV-2 in clinical trials. Successful treatment will probably be based on multitherapies with antiviral compounds that target different steps of the virus life cycle. Moreover, a multidisciplinary approach that combines artificial intelligence, compound docking, and robust in vitro and in vivo assays will accelerate the development of new antiviral molecules. Finally, large retrospective studies on hospitalized patients are needed to evaluate the different treatments with robust statistical tools and to identify the best treatment for each Covid-19 stage. This review describes different candidate antiviral strategies for Covid-19, by focusing on their mechanism of action.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Combined Modality Therapy , Disease Management , Disease Susceptibility , Drug Development , Drug Repositioning , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Treatment Outcome
20.
Eur J Med Chem ; 201: 112557, 2020 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-597389

ABSTRACT

The spreading of new viruses is known to provoke global human health threat. The current COVID-19 pandemic caused by the recently emerged coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is one significant and unfortunate example of what the world will have to face in the future with emerging viruses in absence of appropriate treatment. The discovery of potent and specific antiviral inhibitors and/or vaccines to fight these massive outbreaks is an urgent research priority. Enzymes involved in the capping pathway of viruses and more specifically RNA N7- or 2'O-methyltransferases (MTases) are now admitted as potential targets for antiviral chemotherapy. We designed bisubstrate inhibitors by mimicking the transition state of the 2'-O-methylation of the cap RNA in order to block viral 2'-O MTases. This work resulted in the synthesis of 16 adenine dinucleosides with both adenosines connected by various nitrogen-containing linkers. Unexpectedly, all the bisubstrate compounds were barely active against 2'-O MTases of several flaviviruses or SARS-CoV but surprisingly, seven of them showed efficient and specific inhibition against SARS-CoV N7-MTase (nsp14) in the micromolar to submicromolar range. The most active nsp14 inhibitor identified is as potent as but particularly more specific than the broad-spectrum MTase inhibitor, sinefungin. Molecular docking suggests that the inhibitor binds to a pocket formed by the S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) and cap RNA binding sites, conserved among SARS-CoV nsp14. These dinucleoside SAM analogs will serve as starting points for the development of next inhibitors for SARS-CoV-2 nsp14 N7-MTase.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , Nucleosides/chemistry , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , RNA Caps/metabolism , S-Adenosylmethionine/analogs & derivatives , S-Adenosylmethionine/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Adenine/chemistry , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Methylation , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Molecular Docking Simulation , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA Caps/chemistry , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism
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