Identification of a Potent Inhibitor Targeting the Spike Protein of Pandemic Human Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 by Computational Methods

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is an emerging new viral pathogen that causes severe respiratory disease. SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for an outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. As there are no confirmed antiviral drugs or vaccines currently available for the treatment of COVID-19, discovering potent inhibitors or vaccines are urgently required for the benefit of humanity. The glycosylated Spike protein (S-protein) directly interacts with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor through the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of S-protein. As the S-protein is exposed to the surface and is essential for entry into the host, the S-protein can be considered as a first-line therapeutic target for antiviral therapy and vaccine development. In-silico screening, docking and molecular dynamics simulation studies were performed to identify repurposing drugs using DrugBank and PubChem library against the RBD of S-protein. The study identified a laxative drug, Bisoxatin (DB09219), which is used for the treatment of constipation and preparation of the colon for surgical procedures. It binds nicely at the S-protein – ACE2 interface by making substantial pi-pi interactions with Tyr505 in the ‘Site 1’ hook region of RBD and hydrophilic interactions with Glu406, Ser494 and Thr500. Bisoxatin consistently binds to the protein throughout the 100 ns simulation. Taken together, we propose that the discovered molecule, Bisoxatin may be a potent repurpose drug to develop new chemical libraries for inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 entry into the host.