In silico identification of widely used and well-tolerated drugs as potential SARS-CoV-2 3C-like protease and viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase inhibitors for direct use in clinical trials

30 June 2020, Version 3
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Despite strict measures taken by many countries, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to be an issue of global concern. Currently, there are no clinically proven pharmacotherapies for coronavirus disease 2019, despite promising initial results obtained from drugs such as azithromycin and hydroxyquinoline. Therefore, the repurposing of clinically approved drugs for use against SARS-CoV-2 has become a viable strategy. Here, we searched for drugs that target SARS-CoV-2 3C-like protease (3CLpro) and viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) by in silico screening of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved drug library. Well-tolerated and widely used drugs were selected for molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to evaluate drug-protein interactions and their persistence under physiological conditions. Tetracycline, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, dutasteride, nelfinavir, and paliperidone formed stable interactions with 3CLpro based on MD simulation results. Similar analysis with RdRp showed that eltrombopag, tipranavir, ergotamine, and conivaptan bound to the enzyme with high binding free energies. Docking results suggest that ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, bromocriptine, dutasteride, conivaptan, paliperidone, and tipranavir can bind to both enzymes with high affinity. As these drugs are well tolerated, cost-effective, and widely used, our study suggests that they could potentially to be used in clinical trials for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2-infected patients.


3 Chymotrypsin like protease
RNA dependent RNA polymerase
drug Repurposing

Supplementary materials

Final R1 1 Clean Revised 20200629


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.