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Int J Antimicrob Agents ; 56(2): 106055, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-593424


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), similar to SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which belong to the same Betacoronavirus genus, induces severe acute respiratory disease that is a threat to human health. Since the outbreak of infection by SARS-CoV-2 began, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the disease has rapidly spread worldwide. Thus, a search for effective drugs able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 has become a global pursuit. The 3C-like protease (3CLpro), which hydrolyses viral polyproteins to produce functional proteins, is essential for coronavirus replication and is considered an important therapeutic target for diseases caused by coronaviruses, including COVID-19. Many 3CLpro inhibitors have been proposed and some new drug candidates have achieved success in preclinical studies. In this review, we briefly describe recent developments in determining the structure of 3CLpro and its function in coronavirus replication and summarise new insights into 3CLpro inhibitors and their mechanisms of action. The clinical application prospects and limitations of 3CLpro inhibitors for COVID-19 treatment are also discussed.

Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Protease Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus 3C Proteases , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cysteine Endopeptidases/chemistry , Humans , Molecular Structure , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry