Computational estimation of potential inhibitors from known drugs against the main protease of SARS-CoV-2†
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread worldwide recently, leading to global social and economic disruption. Although the emergently approved vaccine programs against SARS-CoV-2 have been rolled out globally, the number of COVID-19 daily cases and deaths has remained significantly high. Here, we attempt to computationally screen for possible medications for COVID-19 via rapidly estimating the highly potential inhibitors from an FDA-approved drug database against the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2. The approach combined molecular docking and fast pulling of ligand (FPL) simulations that were demonstrated to be accurate and suitable for quick prediction of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors. The results suggested that twenty-seven compounds were capable of strongly associating with SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. Among them, the seven top leads are daclatasvir, teniposide, etoposide, levoleucovorin, naldemedine, cabozantinib, and irinotecan. The potential application of these drugs in COVID-19 therapy has thus been discussed.