COVID19 is a multi-organ disease affecting the lung, heart, kidney, and brain. This has led to increase in COVID19 related research worldwide, yet there is limited knowledge on mechanisms of COVID19 disease pathogenesis which has hampered attempts to develop targeted antiviral strategies.
The SARS-CoV-2 enters the human body and dysregulates cellular mechanisms to replicate and infect more cells. Thus, one effective way of formulating an effective antiviral therapy is by identifying and targeting these dysregulated signaling pathways.
Gustavo Gracia from the University of California and a team of scientists developed a high-throughput drug screening system to identify potential antiviral drugs targeting SARS-CoV-2.
This system assesses the potent antiviral activity exhibited by certain protein kinase inhibitors. The protein kinases are enzymes that modulate functions of proteins. The protein kinase inhibitors block the action of these protein kinases.
From primary screening, 34 compounds were identified that inhibit virus-mediated killing of epithelial cells.
The screening also confirmed three compounds showing antiviral activity –
Amongst these Berzosertib was most potent. These compounds can be further evaluated for the treatment of COVID19 patients.