Targeting Novel Coronavirus 2019: A Systematic Drug Repurposing Approach to Identify Promising Inhibitors Against 3C-like Proteinase and 2'-O-Ribose Methyltransferase

25 February 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The recent pandemic associated with 2019-nCoV, a virus of the Coronaviridae family, has resulted in an unprecedented number of infected people. The highly contagious nature of this virus makes it imperative for us to identify potential inhibitors from pre-existing antiviral drugs. Two druggable targets, namely 3C-like proteinase (3CLpro) and 2'-O-ribose methyltransferase (2'-O-MTase) were selected in this study due to their indispensable nature in the viral life cycle. 3CLpro is a cysteine protease responsible for the proteolysis of replicase polyproteins resulting in the formation of various functional proteins, whereas 2'-O-MTase methylates the ribose 2'-O position of the first and second nucleotide of viral mRNA, which sequesters it from the host immune system. The selected drug target proteins were screened against an in-house library of 123 antiviral drugs. Two promising drug molecules were identified for each protein based on their estimated free energy of binding (ΔG), the orientation of drug molecules in the active site and the interacting residues. The selected protein-drug complexes were then subjected to MD simulation, which consists of various structural parameters to equivalently reflect their physiological state. From the virtual screening results, two drug molecules were selected for each drug target protein [Paritaprevir (ΔG= -9.8 kcal/mol) & Raltegravir (ΔG= -7.8 kcal/mol) for 3CLpro and Dolutegravir (ΔG= -9.4 kcal/mol) and Bictegravir (ΔG= -8.4 kcal/mol) for 2'-OMTase]. After the extensive computational analysis, we proposed that Raltegravir, Paritaprevir, Bictegravir and Dolutegravir are excellent lead candidates for these crucial proteins and they could become potential therapeutic drugs against 2019-nCoV.


3C-like proteinase
2'-O-ribose methyltransferase
Drug repurposing
MD simulation

Supplementary materials

Supplementary data


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.