Antiviral Activity Against SARS-CoV-2 Variants Using in Silico and in Vitro Approaches.

Publication date: Jun 26, 2023

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emergence in 2019 led to global health crises and the persistent risk of viral mutations. To combat SARS-CoV-2 variants, researchers have explored new approaches to identifying potential targets for coronaviruses. This study aimed to identify SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors using drug repurposing. In silico studies and network pharmacology were conducted to validate targets and coronavirus-associated diseases to select potential candidates, and in vitro assays were performed to evaluate the antiviral effects of the candidate drugs to elucidate the mechanisms of the viruses at the molecular level and determine the effective antiviral drugs for them. Plaque and cytopathic effect reduction were evaluated, and real-time quantitative reverse transcription was used to evaluate the antiviral activity of the candidate drugs against SARS-CoV-2 variants in vitro. Finally, a comparison was made between the molecular docking binding affinities of fenofibrate and remdesivir (positive control) to conventional and identified targets validated from protein-protein interaction (PPI). Seven candidate drugs were obtained based on the biological targets of the coronavirus, and potential targets were identified by constructing complex disease targets and PPI networks. Among the candidates, fenofibrate exhibited the strongest inhibition effect 1 h after Vero E6 cell infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants. This study identified potential targets for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and SARS-CoV-2 and suggested fenofibrate as a potential therapy for COVID-19.

Concepts Keywords
Antiviral Drug repurposing
Coronaviruses Fenofibrate
Docking In silico
Pharmacology In vitro assay
Quantitative SARS-CoV-2


Type Source Name
disease VO Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
disease VO Viruses
disease VO effective
disease VO time
drug DRUGBANK Fenofibrate
disease IDO cell
disease MESH infection
pathway KEGG Coronavirus disease
disease MESH COVID-19
disease IDO assay

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