Updated: August 4, 2020 6:46:05 pm
Scientists in the US have found a potential therapeutic treatment for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other coronaviruses.
Pathogenic coronaviruses are a major threat to global public health, as shown by the SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and the newly emerged SARS-CoV-2.
The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, has found that small molecule protease inhibitors show potency against human coronaviruses.
These coronavirus 3C-like proteases, known as 3CLpro, are strong therapeutic targets because they play vital roles in coronavirus replication, the researchers said.
“Vaccine developments and treatments are the biggest targets in COVID-19 research, and treatment is really key,” said Kyeong-Ok Chang, a professor at Kansas State University in the US.
“This paper describes protease inhibitors targeting coronavirus 3CLpro, which is a well-known therapeutic target,” Chang said.
The study demonstrates that this series of optimised coronavirus 3CLpro inhibitors blocked replication of the human coronaviruses MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in cultured cells and in a mouse model for MERS, the researchers said.
These findings suggest that this series of compounds should be investigated further as a potential therapeutic for human coronavirus infection, they said.
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