The P11 beamline of the PETRA III research light source specializes in structural biology studies. Here, the three-dimensional structure of proteins can be imaged with atomic precision. Using this method, which employs protein crystallography, several candidates for drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been identified. They bind to an important protein of the virus and could thus be the basis for a drug against COVID-19. In a so-called X-ray screening, the researchers quickly tested almost 6,000 active substances that already exist for the treatment of other diseases. A total of 37 substances were identified that bind to the main protease of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Seven of these substances inhibit the activity of the protein and thus slow down the multiplication of the virus. The active substances Calpeptin and Pelitinib clearly showed the highest antiviral effects with good cell compatibility. This drug screening also revealed a new binding site on the main protease of the virus which drugs can target.
X-ray screening identifies active site and allosteric inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 main protease
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