Biological and Medicinal Chemistry

Nelfinavir Is Active Against SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 Cells



Utilizing an integrative computational drug discovery approach, we predicted that nelfinavir is a potential inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 main protease. Further docking nelfinavir to 30 potential target proteins of COVID-19, we found that nelfinavir is most probably a multi-target agent. The half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) of nelfinavir mesylate against SARS-CoV-2 was 2.89±0.65 μM while that of remdesivir was 1.00±0.34 μM, both drugs showed similar dose-response curves. Based on its high potency against SARS-CoV-2 at cellular level, its higher exposure in lung than in plasma, its good safe profile and its potential to reduce inflammation, nelfinavir deserves further exploration for the treatment of COVID-19.


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