Drug-binding spaces in viral proteins from Covid-19 patient samples and other coronaviruses have been discovered by scientists, suggesting the most potential targets for anti-coronavirus medicines.
Vaccines that are both safe and effective, according to the experts from the University of Toronto in Canada, give promise for putting a stop to the Covid-19 epidemic.
However, the potential advent of vaccine-resistant SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as the introduction of new coronaviruses, makes developing therapies that are effective against all coronaviruses even more critical, according to the researchers.
According to the findings of the study, which was published in the Journal of Proteome Research, viral proteins from 27 coronavirus species and hundreds of samples from Covid-19 patients were analysed.
It discovered sequences that are highly conserved and might be used as therapeutic targets in the future.
Drugs frequently bind inside “pockets” on proteins, allowing the drug to interfere with the protein’s function by interfering with its ability to function.
The three-dimensional (3D) architectures of viral proteins can be used to detect possible drug-binding sites, according to scientists.
In certain cases, viruses might alter their protein pockets to the point that medicines no longer fit in them.
Researchers Discovery on Coronavirus
The researchers discovered that some drug-binding regions are so critical to the protein’s function that they cannot be altered, and that these sequences have remained mostly unchanged throughout the evolution of the virus and its close relatives.
It was discovered that 15 SARS-CoV-2 proteins contained drug-binding pockets by using a computer programme to analyse the 3D architectures of the proteins.
The researchers discovered similar proteins in 27 coronavirus species and compared the sequences of the proteins in the drug-binding pockets to each other.
Druggable sites were found in two pockets: one that overlapped the DNA binding site of the helicase (nsp13) and another that overlapped the catalytic site of an RNA-dependent polymerase (nsp12). These two pockets were shown to be the most conserved druggable sites in the human genome.
It is believed that both of these proteins are involved in viral RNA replication and transcription.
This pocket on nsp13 was likewise the most highly conserved across hundreds of SARS-CoV-2 samples obtained from Covid-19 patients, with no evidence of a single mutation.
In addition, the researchers pointed out that new antiviral medicines targeting the catalytic site of nsp12 are presently being tested in phase II and III clinical trials for Covid-19 infection.
In addition, the RNA binding region of nsp13 represents a hitherto unexplored target that should be given high priority in therapeutic development, the researchers stated.