In contrast to commonly applied X-ray fragment screening experiments with molecules of low complexity, the screen tested already approved drugs, and drugs in clinical trials. From the three-dimensional protein structures, 37 compounds were identified as specific binders to Mpro. In subsequent cell-based viral reduction assays, one peptidomimetic and six non-peptidic compounds showed antiviral activity at non-toxic concentrations. Two allosteric binding sites were identified, representing attractive targets for drug development against SARS-CoV-2.
Publication date: April 2, 2021