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In Computers in biology and medicine

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a major threat worldwide due to its fast spreading. As yet, there are no established drugs available. Speeding up drug discovery is urgently required. We applied a workflow of combined in silico methods (virtual drug screening, molecular docking and supervised machine learning algorithms) to identify novel drug candidates against COVID-19. We constructed chemical libraries consisting of FDA-approved drugs for drug repositioning and of natural compound datasets from literature mining and the ZINC database to select compounds interacting with SARS-CoV-2 target proteins (spike protein, nucleocapsid protein, and 2'-o-ribose methyltransferase). Supported by the supercomputer MOGON, candidate compounds were predicted as presumable SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors. Interestingly, several approved drugs against hepatitis C virus (HCV), another enveloped (-) ssRNA virus (paritaprevir, simeprevir and velpatasvir) as well as drugs against transmissible diseases, against cancer, or other diseases were identified as candidates against SARS-CoV-2. This result is supported by reports that anti-HCV compounds are also active against Middle East Respiratory Virus Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus. The candidate compounds identified by us may help to speed up the drug development against SARS-CoV-2.

Kadioglu Onat, Saeed Mohamed, Greten Henry Johannes, Efferth Thomas


Artificial intelligence, COVID-19, Chemotherapy, Infectious diseases, Natural products