A molecular modelling approach for identifying antiviral selenium-containing heterocyclic compounds that inhibit the main protease of SARS-CoV-2: an in silico investigation

Ano: 2021

Briefings in Bioinformatics, Volume 22, Issue 2, March 2021, Pages 1476–1498.


Autores/as: Ahmed Rakib, Zulkar Nain, Saad Ahmed Sami, Shafi Mahmud, Ashiqul Islam, Shahriar Ahmed, Adnan Bin Faisul Siddiqui, S M Omar Faruque Babu, Payar Hossain, Asif Shahriar, Firzan Nainu, Talha Bin Emran, Jesus Simal-Gandara.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, and the situation worsens daily, associated with acute increases in case fatality rates. The main protease (Mpro) enzyme produced by SARS-CoV-2 was recently demonstrated to be responsible for not only viral reproduction but also impeding host immune responses. The element selenium (Se) plays a vital role in immune functions, both directly and indirectly. Thus, we hypothesised that Se-containing heterocyclic compounds might curb the activity of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro. We performed a molecular docking analysis and found that several of the selected selenocompounds showed potential binding affinities for SARS-CoV-2 Mpro, especially ethaselen (49), which exhibited a docking score of −6.7 kcal/mol compared with the −6.5 kcal/mol score for GC376 (positive control). Drug-likeness calculations suggested that these compounds are biologically active and possess the characteristics of ideal drug candidates. Based on the binding affinity and drug-likeness results, we selected the 16 most effective selenocompounds as potential anti-COVID-19 drug candidates. We also validated the structural integrity and stability of the drug candidate through molecular dynamics simulation. Using further in vitro and in vivo experiments, we believe that the targeted compound identified in this study (ethaselen) could pave the way for the development of prospective drugs to combat SARS-CoV-2 infections and trigger specific host immune responses.

Jesús Simal Gándara

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