SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that emerged in 2019 and rapidly spread across the world causing a deadly pandemic with tremendous social and economic costs. Healthcare systems worldwide are under great pressure, and there is urgent need for effective antiviral treatments. The only currently approved antiviral treatment for COVID-19 is remdesivir, an inhibitor of viral genome replication. SARS-CoV-2 proliferation relies on the enzymatic activities of the non-structural proteins (nsp), which makes them interesting targets for the development of new antiviral treatments. With the aim to identify novel SARS-CoV-2 antivirals, we have purified the exoribonuclease/methyltransferase (nsp14) and its cofactor (nsp10) and developed biochemical assays compatible with high-throughput approaches to screen for exoribonuclease inhibitors. We have screened a library of over 5000 commercial compounds and identified patulin and aurintricarboxylic acid (ATA) as inhibitors of nsp14 exoribonuclease in vitro. We found that patulin and ATA inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2 in a VERO E6 cell-culture model. These two new antiviral compounds will be valuable tools for further coronavirus research as well as potentially contributing to new therapeutic opportunities for COVID-19.
This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY). https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Canal, B., McClure, A., Curran, J., Wu, M., Ulferts, R., Weissmann, F., Zeng, J., Bertolin, A., Milligan, J., Basu, S., Drury, L., Deegan, T., Fujisawa, R., Roberts, E., Basier, C., Labib, K., Beale, R., Howell, M. & Diffley, J. 2021, 'Identifying SARS-CoV-2 Antiviral Compounds by Screening for Small Molecule Inhibitors of Nsp14/nsp10 Exoribonuclease', Biochemical Journal, 478(13), pp. 2445-2464. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.07.438812