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Phytochemicals against SARS-CoV-2 as potential drug leads

The newly emerged #SARSCoV2 strains from the #coronavirus (CoV) family is causing one of the most disruptive pandemics of the past century. Developing antiviral drugs is a challenge for the scientific community and pharmaceutical industry. Given the health emergency, repurposing of existing antiviral, antiinflammatory or antimalarial drugs is an attractive option for controlling SARS-CoV-2 with drugs. However, phytochemicals selected based on ethnomedicinal information as well as in vitro antiviral studies could be promising as well. Here, we summarise the phytochemicals with reported anti-CoV activity, and further analyzed them computationally to accelerate validation for drug development against SARS-CoV-2. This systematic review started from the most potent phytocompounds (IC50 in μM) against SARS-CoV, followed by a cluster analysis to locate the most suitable lead(s). The advanced molecular docking used the crystallography structure of SARS-CoV-2-cysteine-like protease (SARS-CoV-2-3CLpro) as a target. In total, seventy-eight phytochemicals with anti-CoV activity against different strains in cellular assays, were selected for this computational study, and compared with two existing repurposed FDA-approved drugs: lopinavir and ritonavir. This review brings insights in the potential application of phytochemicals and their derivatives, which could guide researchers to develop safe drugs against SARS-CoV-2.

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