Proteasome Inhibitors as a Possible Therapy for SARS-CoV-2
The COVID-19 global pandemic is caused by SARS-CoV-2, and represents an urgent medical and social issue. Unfortunately, there is still not a single proven effective drug available, and therefore, current therapeutic guidelines recommend supportive care including oxygen administration and treatment with antibiotics. Recently, patients have been also treated with off-label therapies which comprise antiretrovirals, anti-inflammatory compounds, antiparasitic agents and plasma from convalescent patients, all with controversial results. The ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS) is important for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, and plays a pivotal role in viral replication processes. In this review, we discuss several aspects of the UPS and the effects of its inhibition with particular regard to the life cycle of the coronaviruses (CoVs). In fact, proteasome inhibition by various chemical compounds, such as MG132, epoxomycin and bortezomib, may reduce the virus entry into the eucariotic cell, the synthesis of RNA, and the subsequent protein expression necessary for CoVs. Importantly, since UPS inhibitors reduce the cytokine storm associated with various inflammatory conditions, it is reasonable to assume that they might be repurposed for SARS-CoV-2, thus providing an additional tool to counteract both virus replication as well as its most deleterious consequences triggered by abnormal immunological response.
Inhibitors of SARS-3CLpro: Virtual Screening, Biological Evaluation and Molecular Dynamics Simulation Studies
SARS-CoV from the coronaviridae family has been identified as the etiological agent of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a highly contagious upper respiratory disease that reached epidemic status in 2002. SARS-3CLpro, a cysteine protease indispensible to the viral life cycle, has been identified as one of the key therapeutic target against SARS. A combined ligand and structure based virtual screening was carried out against the Asinex Platinum collection. Multiple low micromolar inhibitors of the enzyme were identified through this search, one of which also showed activity against SARS-CoV in a whole cell CPE assay. Furthermore, multi nanosecond explicit solvent simulations were carried out using the docking poses of the identified hits to study the overall stability of the binding site interactions as well as identify important changes in the interaction profile that were not apparent from the docking study. Cumulative analysis of the evaluated compounds and the simulation studies led to the identification of certain protein-ligand interaction patterns which would be useful in further structure based design efforts.
Neutrophil Elastase Inhibitors: A potential prophylactic treatment option for SARS-CoV-2-induced respiratory complications?
Critical Care volume 24, Article number: 311 (2020)
As the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 continues to mount globally, scientists, healthcare agencies, and pharmaceutical companies are trying hard to find a “cure” and devise treatment strategies to reduce mortality. “Repurposing” existing drugs to fight COVID-19 remains an important strategy. Since respiratory failure remains one of the leading causes of death in COVID-19 patients, in this commentary, we have critically discussed the potential benefit of neutrophil elastase inhibitors (NEIs) in patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19.