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      Structural basis of SARS-CoV-2 3CL pro and anti-COVID-19 drug discovery from medicinal plants†

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          Abstract

          The recent outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019 raised global health concerns. The viral 3-chymotrypsin-like cysteine protease (3CL pro) enzyme controls coronavirus replication and is essential for its life cycle. 3CL pro is a proven drug discovery target in the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Recent studies revealed that the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 is very similar to that of SARS-CoV. Therefore, herein, we analysed the 3CL pro sequence, constructed its 3D homology model, and screened it against a medicinal plant library containing 32,297 potential anti-viral phytochemicals/traditional Chinese medicinal compounds. Our analyses revealed that the top nine hits might serve as potential anti- SARS-CoV-2 lead molecules for further optimisation and drug development process to combat COVID-19.

          Graphical abstract

          Highlights

          • SARS-CoV-2 3CL pro is conserved, share 99.02% sequence identity with SARS-CoV 3CL pro and together with 12 point-mutations.

          • Mutations disrupt important hydrogen bonds and alter the receptor binding site of SARS-CoV-2 3CL pro.

          • Medicinal plants phytochemicals were proved potential anti-COVID-19 druggable candidates.

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          Most cited references 22

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          A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019

          Summary In December 2019, a cluster of patients with pneumonia of unknown cause was linked to a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, China. A previously unknown betacoronavirus was discovered through the use of unbiased sequencing in samples from patients with pneumonia. Human airway epithelial cells were used to isolate a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV, which formed a clade within the subgenus sarbecovirus, Orthocoronavirinae subfamily. Different from both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, 2019-nCoV is the seventh member of the family of coronaviruses that infect humans. Enhanced surveillance and further investigation are ongoing. (Funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China and the National Major Project for Control and Prevention of Infectious Disease in China.)
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            A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin

            Since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 18 years ago, a large number of SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoVs) have been discovered in their natural reservoir host, bats 1–4 . Previous studies have shown that some bat SARSr-CoVs have the potential to infect humans 5–7 . Here we report the identification and characterization of a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which caused an epidemic of acute respiratory syndrome in humans in Wuhan, China. The epidemic, which started on 12 December 2019, had caused 2,794 laboratory-confirmed infections including 80 deaths by 26 January 2020. Full-length genome sequences were obtained from five patients at an early stage of the outbreak. The sequences are almost identical and share 79.6% sequence identity to SARS-CoV. Furthermore, we show that 2019-nCoV is 96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus. Pairwise protein sequence analysis of seven conserved non-structural proteins domains show that this virus belongs to the species of SARSr-CoV. In addition, 2019-nCoV virus isolated from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a critically ill patient could be neutralized by sera from several patients. Notably, we confirmed that 2019-nCoV uses the same cell entry receptor—angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2)—as SARS-CoV.
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              A new coronavirus associated with human respiratory disease in China

               Fan Wu,  Su Zhao,  Bin Yu (2020)
              Emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Zika virus disease, present a major threat to public health 1–3 . Despite intense research efforts, how, when and where new diseases appear are still a source of considerable uncertainty. A severe respiratory disease was recently reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. As of 25 January 2020, at least 1,975 cases had been reported since the first patient was hospitalized on 12 December 2019. Epidemiological investigations have suggested that the outbreak was associated with a seafood market in Wuhan. Here we study a single patient who was a worker at the market and who was admitted to the Central Hospital of Wuhan on 26 December 2019 while experiencing a severe respiratory syndrome that included fever, dizziness and a cough. Metagenomic RNA sequencing 4 of a sample of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from the patient identified a new RNA virus strain from the family Coronaviridae, which is designated here ‘WH-Human 1’ coronavirus (and has also been referred to as ‘2019-nCoV’). Phylogenetic analysis of the complete viral genome (29,903 nucleotides) revealed that the virus was most closely related (89.1% nucleotide similarity) to a group of SARS-like coronaviruses (genus Betacoronavirus, subgenus Sarbecovirus) that had previously been found in bats in China 5 . This outbreak highlights the ongoing ability of viral spill-over from animals to cause severe disease in humans.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Pharm Anal
                J Pharm Anal
                Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis
                Xi'an Jiaotong University
                2095-1779
                2214-0883
                26 March 2020
                26 March 2020
                Affiliations
                [a ]College of Life Science and Technology, Guangxi University, Nanning, 530004, PR China
                [b ]Hubei Key Laboratory of Agricultural Bioinformatics, College of Informatics, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, 430070, PR China
                [c ]Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, 11323, Alkarj, Saudi Arabia
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. College of Life Science and Technology, Guangxi University, Nanning, 530004, PR China. llchen@ 123456mail.hzau.edu.cn
                [†]

                This manuscript has been released as a preprint at Preprints.

                Article
                S2095-1779(20)30127-1
                10.1016/j.jpha.2020.03.009
                7156227
                .

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

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