Differing pan-coronavirus antiviral potency of boceprevir and GC376 in vitro despite discordant molecular docking predictions

Yining Wang, Pengfei Li, Marla Lavrijsen, Yang Li, Zhongren Ma, Maikel P Peppelenbosch, Mirza S Baig*, Qiuwei Pan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Given the structural similarities of the viral enzymes of different coronaviruses (CoVs), we investigated the potency of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents boceprevir and GC376 for counteracting seasonal coronavirus infections. In contrast to previous findings that both boceprevir and GC376 are potent inhibitors of the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2, we found that GC376 is much more effective than boceprevir in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 and three seasonal CoVs (NL63, 229E, and OC43) in cell culture models. However, these results are discordant with a molecular docking analysis that suggested comparable affinity of boceprevir and GC376 for the different Mpro enzymes of the four CoVs. Collectively, our results support future development of GC376 but not boceprevir (although it is an FDA-approved antiviral medication) as a pan-coronavirus antiviral agent. Furthermore, we caution against overinterpretation of in silico data when developing antiviral therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1130
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Virology
Volume167
Issue number4
Early online date16 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

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