Dose COVID-19 Uncovered a New Feature of Metronidazole Drug?

Studies of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a current global health problem shown the initial plasma levels of most pro-inflammatory cytokines increased during the infection, which leads to patient countless complications. Previous studies also demonstrated that the metronidazole (MTZ) administration reduced related cytokines and improved treatment in patients. However, the effect of this drug on cytokines has not been determined. In the present study, the interaction of MTZ with cytokines was investigated using molecular docking as one of the principal methods in drug discovery and design. According to the obtained results, the IL12-metronidazole complex is more stable than other cytokines, and an increase in the surface and volume leads to prevent to bind to receptors. Moreover, ligand-based virtual screening of several libraries showed metronidazole phosphate, metronidazole benzoate, 1-[1-(2-Hydroxyethyl)-5- nitroimidazol-2-yl]-N-methylmethanimine oxide, acyclovir, and tetrahydrobiopterin (THB or BH4) like MTZ by changing the surface and volume prevents binding IL-12 to the receptor. Finally, the inhibition of the active sites of IL-12 occurred by modifying the position of the methyl and hydroxyl functional groups in MTZ.