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Discovery of COVID-19 Inhibitors Targeting the SARS-CoV2 Nsp13 Helicase

By Mark Andrew White, Wei Lin, Xiaodong Cheng

Posted 10 Aug 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.09.243246 (published DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c02421)

The raging COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV2 has infected millions of people and killed several hundred thousand patients worldwide. Currently, there are no effective drugs or vaccines available for treating coronavirus infections. In this study, we have focused on the SARS-CoV2 helicase (Nsp13), which is critical for viral replication and the most conserved non-structural protein within the coronavirus family. Using homology modeling and molecular dynamics approaches, we generated structural models of the SARS-CoV2 helicase in its apo- and ATP/RNA-bound conformations. We performed virtual screening of ~970,000 chemical compounds against the ATP binding site to identify potential inhibitors. Herein, we report docking hits of approved human drugs targeting the ATP binding site. Importantly, two of our top drug hits have significant activity in inhibiting purified recombinant SARS-CoV-2 helicase, providing hope that these drugs can be potentially repurposed for the treatment of COVID-19. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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