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Saudi J Biol Sci ; 29(6): 103297, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799719


The increased transmissibility and highly infectious nature of the new variant of concern (VOC) that is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron and lack of effective therapy need the rapid discovery of therapeutic antivirals against it. The present investigation aimed to identify antiviral compounds that would be effective against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron. In this study, molecular docking experiments were carried out using the recently reported experimental structure of omicron spike protein in complex with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and various antivirals in preclinical and clinical trial studies. Out of 36 tested compounds, Abemaciclib, Dasatinib and Spiperone are the three top-ranked molecules which scored binding energies of -10.08 kcal/mol, -10.06 kcal/mol and -9.54 kcal/mol respectively. Phe338, Asp339, and Asp364 are crucial omicron receptor residues involved in hydrogen bond interactions, while other residues were mostly involved in hydrophobic interactions with the lead molecules. The identified lead compounds also scored well in terms of drug-likeness. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, essential dynamics (ED) and entropic analysis indicate the ability of these molecules to modulate the activity of omicron spike protein. Therefore, Abemaciclib, Dasatinib and Spiperone are likely to be viable drug-candidate molecules that can block the interaction between the omicron spike protein and the host cellular receptor ACE2. Though our findings are compelling, more research into these molecules is needed before they can be employed as drugs to treat SARS-CoV-2 omicron infections.