Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 27
As cases of COVID-19 infections in India continue to emerge and a vaccine to treat it is still awaited, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, has launched a study to identify structure-based potential anti-virals against SARS-CoV2.
In this study, a computer-based high throughput virtual screening approach will be used to identify anti-viral molecules from different compound libraries that will be experimentally validated for anti-viral potential.
The Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, is also collaborating in the research for experimental testing and evaluation of the antiviral efficacy of the identified antiviral molecules.
The study, being supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), is being funded under the ‘Intensification of Research in High Priority Areas’ scheme. The task requires investigators to search for small molecule inhibitors targeting some of the most important viral replication enzymes.
These enzymes are viral proteases and RNA dependent RNA polymerase which are encoded by the genetic material of viral pathogens. Protease is an enzyme which breaks down proteins while polymerase is an enzyme which brings about the formation of a particular polymer.
The investigators have already performed the preliminary work by high-throughput virtual screening approach to examine the binding affinity of FDA approved drugs targeting the viral protease Mpro. Using structure-based approach for drug repurposing, this study would pave the way to identify the molecules that bind to Mpro active site, and their potential can be used as antiviral molecules against COVID-19.
"The hunt for new drugs, including repurposed drug candidates, is getting a boost by in silico approaches, which allude to identifying the potential antiviral molecules based on computer simulation of their molecular structures. This approach is expected to be much faster and accurate in selection of potential drugs and vaccines for experimental and clinical testing, according to a statement issued by the DST.
SARS-CoV-2 is the etiological agent responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic with high morbidity and mortality. Across the globe research activities by various agencies are focused towards the identification of clinically effective vaccine or specific anti-viral drugs or drug repurposing strategies to combat the COVID-19 infections either in the form of prevention or treatment.
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