Warning: This is a preliminary report that has not been peer-reviewed. It should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or be reported in news media as established information.

High-throughput screening of the ReFRAME, Pandemic Box, and COVID Box drug repurposing libraries against SARS-CoV2 nsp15 endoribonuclease to identify small-molecule inhibitors of viral activity. (Preliminary Report)

SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic, and has taken over 1.7 million lives as of mid-December, 2020. Although great progress has been made in the development of effective countermeasures, with several pharmaceutical companies approved or poised to deliver vaccines to market, there is still an unmet need of essential antiviral ...
drugs with therapeutic impact for the treatment of moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Towards this goal, a high-throughput assay was used to screen SARS-CoV-2 nsp15 uracil-dependent endonuclease (endoU) function against 13 thousand compounds from drug and lead repurposing compound libraries. While over 80% of initial hit compounds were pan-assay inhibitory compounds, three hits were confirmed as nsp15 endoU inhibitors in the 1-20 M range in vitro. Furthermore, Exebryl-1, a {beta}-amyloid anti-aggregation molecule for Alzheimers therapy, was shown to have antiviral activity between 10 to 66 M, in VERO, Caco-2, and Calu-3 cells. Although the inhibitory concentrations determined for Exebryl-1 exceed those recommended for therapeutic intervention, our findings show great promise for further optimization of Exebryl-1 as an nsp15 endoU inhibitor and as a SARS-CoV-2 antiviral.Author summaryDrugs to treat COVID-19 are urgently needed. To address this, we searched libraries of drugs and drug-like molecules for inhibitors of an essential enzyme of the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 nonstructural protein (nsp)15. We found several molecules that inhibited the nsp15 enzyme function and one was shown to be active in inhibiting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This demonstrates that searching for SARS-CoV-2 nsp15 inhibitors can lead inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2, and thus therapeutics for COVID-19. We are currently working to see if these inhibitors could be turned into a drug to treat COVID-19.
Date: Jan. 21, 2021
Status: Preliminary Report
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