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Biochem J ; 478(13): 2481-2497, 2021 07 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1289949


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented itself as one of the most critical public health challenges of the century, with SARS-CoV-2 being the third member of the Coronaviridae family to cause a fatal disease in humans. There is currently only one antiviral compound, remdesivir, that can be used for the treatment of COVID-19. To identify additional potential therapeutics, we investigated the enzymatic proteins encoded in the SARS-CoV-2 genome. In this study, we focussed on the viral RNA cap methyltransferases, which play key roles in enabling viral protein translation and facilitating viral escape from the immune system. We expressed and purified both the guanine-N7 methyltransferase nsp14, and the nsp16 2'-O-methyltransferase with its activating cofactor, nsp10. We performed an in vitro high-throughput screen for inhibitors of nsp14 using a custom compound library of over 5000 pharmaceutical compounds that have previously been characterised in either clinical or basic research. We identified four compounds as potential inhibitors of nsp14, all of which also showed antiviral capacity in a cell-based model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Three of the four compounds also exhibited synergistic effects on viral replication with remdesivir.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , Methyltransferases/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA Caps/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Chlorobenzenes/pharmacology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Enzyme Assays , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/isolation & purification , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Indazoles/pharmacology , Indenes/pharmacology , Indoles/pharmacology , Methyltransferases/genetics , Methyltransferases/isolation & purification , Methyltransferases/metabolism , Nitriles/pharmacology , Phenothiazines/pharmacology , Purines/pharmacology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Substrate Specificity , Trifluperidol/pharmacology , Vero Cells , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/genetics , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/isolation & purification , Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins/metabolism
SLAS Discov ; 26(6): 749-756, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1136206


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) represents a significant threat to human health. Despite its similarity to related coronaviruses, there are currently no specific treatments for COVID-19 infection, and therefore there is an urgent need to develop therapies for this and future coronavirus outbreaks. Formation of the cap at the 5' end of viral RNA has been shown to help coronaviruses evade host defenses. Nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14) is responsible for N7-methylation of the cap guanosine in coronaviruses. This enzyme is highly conserved among coronaviruses and is a bifunctional protein with both N7-methyltransferase and 3'-5' exonuclease activities that distinguish nsp14 from its human equivalent. Mutational analysis of SARS-CoV nsp14 highlighted its role in viral replication and translation efficiency of the viral genome. In this paper, we describe the characterization and development of a high-throughput assay for nsp14 utilizing RapidFire technology. The assay has been used to screen a library of 1771 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs. From this, we have validated nitazoxanide as a selective inhibitor of the methyltransferase activity of nsp14. Although modestly active, this compound could serve as a starting point for further optimization.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Exoribonucleases/antagonists & inhibitors , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Nitro Compounds/pharmacology , RNA Caps/antagonists & inhibitors , RNA, Viral/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Thiazoles/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Antiparasitic Agents/chemistry , Antiparasitic Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/virology , Cloning, Molecular , Drug Repositioning , Enzyme Assays , Enzyme Inhibitors/chemistry , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Escherichia coli/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Exoribonucleases/genetics , Exoribonucleases/metabolism , Gene Expression , Genetic Vectors/chemistry , Genetic Vectors/metabolism , Humans , Kinetics , Mass Spectrometry/methods , Methylation , Nitro Compounds/chemistry , Prescription Drugs/chemistry , Prescription Drugs/pharmacology , RNA Caps/genetics , RNA Caps/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/chemistry , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Small Molecule Libraries/chemistry , Small Molecule Libraries/pharmacology , Thiazoles/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Virus Replication/drug effects
Emerg Med J ; 37(9): 567-570, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-647095


For many of us in emergency medicine, rising to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis will be the single most exciting and challenging episode of our careers. Lessons have been learnt on how to make quick and effective changes without being hindered by the normal restraints of bureaucracy. Changes that would normally have taken months to years to implement have been successfully introduced over a period of several weeks. Although we have managed these changes largely by command and control, compassionate leadership has identified leaders within our team and paved the way for the future. This article covers the preparation and changes made in response to COVID-19 in a London teaching hospital.

Civil Defense , Coronavirus Infections , Emergency Service, Hospital , Organizational Innovation , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Strategic Planning , Surge Capacity , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Change Management , Civil Defense/methods , Civil Defense/organization & administration , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Efficiency, Organizational , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Emergency Service, Hospital/trends , Humans , Leadership , London , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2