3C-like protease inhibitors block coronavirus replication in vitro and improve survival in MERS-CoV–infected mice

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Science Translational Medicine  19 Aug 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 557, eabc5332
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abc5332

Targeting coronavirus 3CLpro

Coronavirus 3C-like proteases (3CLpro) are attractive therapeutic targets because they play a vital role in coronavirus replication. Rathnayake et al. now report a series of optimized coronavirus 3CLpro inhibitors that blocked replication of the human coronaviruses MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in cultured cells. Administration of a lead compound to a MERS-CoV mouse model demonstrated proof-of-concept efficacy. These findings suggest that this lead compound should be investigated further as a potential therapeutic for human coronavirus infection.

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