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Med Res Rev ; 41(3): 1775-1797, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1001951


The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, has become a global crisis. As of November 9, COVID-19 has already spread to more than 190 countries with 50,000,000 infections and 1,250,000 deaths. Effective therapeutics and drugs are in high demand. The structure of SARS-CoV-2 is highly conserved with those of SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome-CoV. Enzymes, including RdRp, Mpro /3CLpro , and PLpro , which play important roles in viral transcription and replication, have been regarded as key targets for therapies against coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The identification of readily available drugs for repositioning in COVID-19 therapy is a relatively rapid approach for clinical treatment, and a series of approved or candidate drugs have been proven to be efficient against COVID-19 in preclinical or clinical studies. This review summarizes recent progress in the development of drugs against SARS-CoV-2 and the targets involved.

Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , /drug therapy , /virology , Humans , /isolation & purification
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(44): 27381-27387, 2020 11 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-867659


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become a global crisis. There is no therapeutic treatment specific for COVID-19. It is highly desirable to identify potential antiviral agents against SARS-CoV-2 from existing drugs available for other diseases and thus repurpose them for treatment of COVID-19. In general, a drug repurposing effort for treatment of a new disease, such as COVID-19, usually starts from a virtual screening of existing drugs, followed by experimental validation, but the actual hit rate is generally rather low with traditional computational methods. Here we report a virtual screening approach with accelerated free energy perturbation-based absolute binding free energy (FEP-ABFE) predictions and its use in identifying drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro). The accurate FEP-ABFE predictions were based on the use of a restraint energy distribution (RED) function, making the practical FEP-ABFE-based virtual screening of the existing drug library possible. As a result, out of 25 drugs predicted, 15 were confirmed as potent inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro The most potent one is dipyridamole (inhibitory constant Ki = 0.04 µM) which has shown promising therapeutic effects in subsequently conducted clinical studies for treatment of patients with COVID-19. Additionally, hydroxychloroquine (Ki = 0.36 µM) and chloroquine (Ki = 0.56 µM) were also found to potently inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Mpro We anticipate that the FEP-ABFE prediction-based virtual screening approach will be useful in many other drug repurposing or discovery efforts.

Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Drug Repositioning , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Cysteine Endopeptidases , Dipyridamole/pharmacology , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/pharmacology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Structure , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy
Acta Pharm Sin B ; 10(7): 1146-1148, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-722860
Acta Pharm Sin B ; 10(7): 1205-1215, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-88716


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome, hypercoagulability, hypertension, and multiorgan dysfunction. Effective antivirals with safe clinical profile are urgently needed to improve the overall prognosis. In an analysis of a randomly collected cohort of 124 patients with COVID-19, we found that hypercoagulability as indicated by elevated concentrations of D-dimers was associated with disease severity. By virtual screening of a U.S. FDA approved drug library, we identified an anticoagulation agent dipyridamole (DIP) in silico, which suppressed SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro. In a proof-of-concept trial involving 31 patients with COVID-19, DIP supplementation was associated with significantly decreased concentrations of D-dimers (P < 0.05), increased lymphocyte and platelet recovery in the circulation, and markedly improved clinical outcomes in comparison to the control patients. In particular, all 8 of the DIP-treated severely ill patients showed remarkable improvement: 7 patients (87.5%) achieved clinical cure and were discharged from the hospitals while the remaining 1 patient (12.5%) was in clinical remission.