SARS-CoV-2 polymerase inhibitor screening

  • Funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Total publications:0 publications

Grant number: 3R01AI141327-02S1

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Key facts

  • Disease

  • Start & end year

  • Known Financial Commitments (USD)

  • Funder

    National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Principle Investigator

  • Research Location

    United States of America, Americas
  • Lead Research Institution

  • Research Category

    Pathogen: natural history, transmission and diagnostics

  • Research Subcategory


  • Special Interest Tags


  • Study Subject


  • Clinical Trial Details


  • Broad Policy Alignment


  • Age Group

    Adults (18 and older)

  • Vulnerable Population

    Drug usersSex workers

  • Occupations of Interest



Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging global pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratorysyndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 is imposing a tremendous public health threat, with novaccines and therapeutic agents against SARS-CoV-2 currently available. This novel single-strandedenveloped RNA virus is the seventh known human coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2 is unlike the other coronavirusesknown to cause the common cold (229E, OC43, NL63, and HKU1), but similar to the zoonotic severe acuterespiratory syndrome coronavirus from 2002 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus from 2012.Pneumonia and respiratory failure are the reported clinical complications of the infected by thesecoronaviruses.While vaccines and monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are in development, a number ofinvestigational therapies are currently being considered and tested, including repurposed clinically approveddrugs targeting SARS-CoV-2 cell entry and replication. For example, viral polymerases have been majortherapeutic targets, as seen in multiple drug discovery successes targeting various viral pathogens (e.g., HIV-1, HCV, and HBV). In fact, the chemistry team of our Center for Drug Discovery (CDD) at Emory University (ledby Dr. R. F. Schinazi), have previously discovered several nucleoside/nucleotide viral polymerase inhibitorsincluding lamivudine (3TC) and emtricitabine (FTC) to treat HIV, as well as sofosbuvir to cure HCV. Building onthis successful mechanistic strategy, our current strategic approach for SARS-CoV-2 is to target its viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase with specific nucleoside compounds that could potentially inhibit viral replication.In this competitive revision application, we have chosen a highly selective and chemically diversenucleoside/nucleotide RNA polymerase inhibitor library, which consists of 200 compounds. We havepreviously established a safe toxicity profile for this set of compounds using our in vitro toxicity screening assaythat consists of a panel of key cell-lines including human primary cells. Our goal is to investigate the antiviralefficacy of each of these compounds by employing our established in vitro SARS-CoV-2 virus culture and viralassay system.