Boceprevir, GC-376, and calpain inhibitors II, XII inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viral replication by targeting the viral main protease

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
C. MaJun Wang

Abstract

A novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, also called novel coronavirus 2019 (nCoV-19), started to circulate among humans around December 2019, and it is now widespread as a global pandemic. The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus is called COVID-19, which is highly contagious and has an overall mortality rate of 6.4% as of April 15, 2020. There is no vaccine or antiviral available for SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we report our discovery of inhibitors targeting the SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro). Using the FRET-based enzymatic assay, several inhibitors including boceprevir, GC-376, calpain inhibitors II, XII, and MG-132 were identified to have potent activity with single-digit to submicromolar IC50 values in the enzymatic assay. The mechanism of action of the hits was further characterized using enzyme kinetic studies and thermal shift binding assays. Significantly, four compounds (boceprevir, GC-376, calpain inhibitors II and XII) inhibit SARS-CoV-2 viral replication in cell culture with EC50 values ranging from 0.49 to 3.37 micromolar. Notably, boceprevir, calpain inhibitors II and XII represent novel chemotypes that are distinct from known Mpro inhibitors. Overall, the compounds identified herein provide promising starting points for th...Continue Reading

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