New research finds that Several Hepatitis C drugs have been found to inhibit a crucial protein enzyme in the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
Key highlights of the research
- The study was led by researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
- Researchers looked at several well-known drug molecules for potential repurposing efforts. These included three hepatitis C protease inhibitors: telaprevir, narlaprevir and boceprevir.
Observation of researchers
- According to the researchers, after entering the human cell using its spike protein, the coronavirus uses an enzyme called the main protease to replicate.
- The coronavirus expresses long chains of compounds, which must be cut by the main protease to become functional proteins.
- Inhibiting the functioning of the main protease, therefore, is vital to stopping the virus from spreading in patients with Covid-19.
- Researchers performed room-temperature X-ray measurements to build a three-dimensional map of chemical bonds formed between the protease and the drug molecules
- Their experiments yielded promising results for certain hepatitis C drugs in their ability to bind and inhibit the main protease — particularly boceprevir and narlaprevir
What was the technique used by the study?
- The study used a technique called in vitro enzyme kinetics.
- It enables researchers to study the protease and the inhibitor in a test tube to measure the inhibitor’s binding affinity with the protease.
- The higher the binding affinity, the more effective the inhibitor is at blocking the protease from functioning.