Scaffold morphing of arbidol (umifenovir) in search of multi-targeting therapy halting the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 with ACE2 and other proteases involved in COVID-19.Virus Res. 2020 11; 289:198146.VR
The rapid emergence of novel coronavirus, SARS-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), originated from Wuhan, China, imposed a global health emergency. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor serves as an entry point for this deadly virus while the proteases like furin, transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) and 3 chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) are involved in the further processing and replication of SARS-CoV-2. The interaction of SP with ACE2 and these proteases results in the SARS-CoV-2 invasion and fast epidemic spread. The small molecular inhibitors are reported to limit the interaction of SP with ACE2 and other proteases. Arbidol, a membrane fusion inhibitor approved for influenza virus is currently undergoing clinical trials against COVID-19. In this context, we report some analogues of arbidol designed by scaffold morphing and structure-based designing approaches with a superior therapeutic profile. The representative compounds A_BR4, A_BR9, A_BR18, A_BR22 and A_BR28 restricted the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 SP with ACE2 and host proteases furin and TMPRSS2. For 3CLPro, Compounds A_BR5, A_BR6, A_BR9 and A_BR18 exhibited high binding affinity, docking score and key residue interactions. Overall, A_BR18 and A_BR28 demonstrated multi-targeting potential against all the targets. Among these top-scoring molecules A_BR9, A_BR18, A_BR22 and A_BR28 were predicted to confer favorable ADME properties.