Researchers target protein to hasten search for next COVID-19 antiviral

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

July 13, 2022 -- A new approach to identifying molecules that interfere with the protein nsp13 could speed up the search for the next COVID-19 antiviral and lead to development of pan-coronavirus antivirals.

That's the contention of researchers who have developed a novel way to screen large numbers of molecules to identify those with the most potent activity to speed up the search for drugs that block nsp13, which is essential for replication and propagation of all human and non-human coronaviruses.

In a study published on July 13 in the journal ACS Infectious Diseases, the authors describe how new tests they devised could be used to efficiently screen large numbers of small molecules for activity against nsp13.

"We report the development and optimization of bioluminescence assays for kinetic characterization of nsp13 ATPase activity in the presence and absence of single-stranded DNA. Screening of a library of 5,000 small molecules in the presence of single-stranded DNA resulted in the discovery of six nsp13 small-molecule inhibitors," the article states.

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