New Drug that Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Identified from Virtual Screening

A novel computational drug screening strategy combined with lab experiments suggest that pralatrexate, a chemotherapy medication originally developed to treat lymphoma, could potentially be repurposed to treat COVID-19. Computational methods can help identify drugs that can be repurposed against SARS-CoV-2. The researchers combined multiple computational techniques that simulate drug-virus interactions from different, complementary perspectives to aid the virtual screening of existing drugs.

They used this hybrid approach to screen 1,906 existing drugs for their potential ability to inhibit replication of SARS-CoV-2 by targeting a viral protein called RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP). This method identified 4 drugs and lab experiments revealed that pralatrexate strongly inhibited viral replication. Further lab experiments revealed that as compared to remdesivir, pralatrexate more strongly inhibited viral replication. These findings suggest that pralatrexate could potentially be repurposed to treat Covid-19.

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