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Cambridge MedChem Consulting

The SARS-CoV-2 main protease as drug target

A very useful primer for those interested in contributing to the ongoing research efforts at COVID moonshot and Open Source COVID-19.

The SARS-CoV-2 main protease as drug target DOI

The unprecedented pandemic of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is threatening global health. The virus emerged in late 2019 and can cause a severe disease associated with significant mortality. Several vaccine development and drug discovery campaigns are underway. The SARS-CoV-2 main protease is considered a promising drug target, as it is dissimilar to human proteases. Sequence and structure of the main protease are closely related to those from other betacoronaviruses, facilitating drug discovery attempts based on previous lead compounds. Covalently binding peptidomimetics and small molecules are investigated. Various compounds show antiviral activity in infected human cells.

Remember a hit in a screen is just the very first step, there is much more to consider before it can be described as a drug candidate.