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Deciphering the Binding Mechanism of Dexamethasone Against SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease: Computational Molecular Modelling Approach

submitted on 19.06.2020, 19:01 and posted on 23.06.2020, 10:15 by Shafi Ullah Khan, Thet.thet Htar

At present, there are no proven agents for the treatment of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The available evidence has not allowed guidelines to clearly recommend any drugs outside the context of clinical trials. One of the most important SARS-CoV-2 protein targets for therapeutics is the 3C-like protease (main protease, Mpro). Here in this study we utilize the recently published 6W63 crystal structure of Mpro complexed with a non-covalent inhibitor X77. Various docking methods FRED, HYBRID, CDOCKER and LEADFINDER tools were benchmark to optimally re-dock the co-crystal ligand within the active site of SARS-COV-2 Mpro. This study was restricted to molecular docking without validation by molecular dynamics simulations. CDOCKER was found to depict the exact binding of co-crystal ligand having lowest RMSD of less than 2 A. Interactions with the SARS-COV-2 Mpro may play a key role in fighting against viruses. Dexamethasone was found to bind with a high affinity to the same sites of the SARS-COV-2 Mpro than the Remdesivir. Dexamethasone was forming six hydrogen bonds compared to the three hydrogen bonds formed by Remdesivir within the active site of SARS-COV-2 Mpro. LEU141, GLY143, HIS163, GLU166, GLN192 were the key amino acid residue of SAR-COV-2 Mpro involved in stabilizing the complex between Dexamethasone and SARS-COV-2 Mpro. The results suggest the effectiveness of Dexamethasone as potent drugs against SARS-CoV-2 since it bind tightly to its Mpro. In addition, the results also suggest that dexamethasone as top antiviral treatments option than the Remdesivir with high potential to fight the SARS-CoV-2.


Email Address of Submitting Author


Monash university Malaysia



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

no conflict of interest.