eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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SCImago Journal & Country Rank
3/2020
vol. 16
 
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COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2
abstract:
Research paper

Statins and the COVID-19 main protease: in silico evidence on direct interaction

Željko Reiner
1
,
Mahdi Hatamipour
2, 3
,
Maciej Banach
4, 5
,
Matteo Pirro
6
,
Khalid Al-Rasadi
7
,
Tannaz Jamialahmadi
8, 9
,
Dina Radenkovic
10
,
Fabrizio Montecucco
11, 12
,
Amirhossein Sahebkar
13, 8, 14

1.
Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
2.
Nanotechnology Research Centre, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
3.
Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
4.
Department of Hypertension, WAM University Hospital in Lodz, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland
5.
Polish Mother’s Memorial Hospital Research Institute (PMMHRI), Lodz, Poland
6.
Unit of Internal Medicine, Angiology, and Arteriosclerosis Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
7.
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Oman
8.
Biotechnology Research Centre, Pharmaceutical Technology Institute, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
9.
Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
10.
Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London SE1 7EH, UK
11.
First Clinic of Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Research (CEBR), University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy
12.
IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino Genoa – Italian Cardiovascular Network, Genoa, Italy
13.
Halal Research Center of IRI, FDA, Tehran, Iran
14.
Neurogenic Inflammation Research Centre, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
Arch Med Sci 2020; 16 (3): 490–496
Online publish date: 2020/04/25
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Introduction
No proven drug and no immunisation are yet available for COVID-19 disease. The SARS-CoV-2 main protease (Mpro), a key coronavirus enzyme, which is a potential drug target, has been successfully crystallised. There is evidence suggesting that statins exert anti-viral activity and may block the infectivity of enveloped viruses. The aim of this study was to assess whether statins are potential COVID-19 Mpro inhibitors, using a molecular docking study.

Material and methods
Molecular docking was performed using AutoDock/Vina, a computational docking program. SARS-CoV-2 Mpro was docked with all statins, while antiviral and antiretroviral drugs – favipiravir, nelfinavir, and lopinavir – were used as standards for comparison.

Results
The binding energies obtained from the docking of 6LU7 with native ligand favipiravir, nelfinavir, lopinavir, simvastatin, rosuvastatin, pravastatin, pitavastatin, lovastatin, fluvastatin, and atorvastatin were –6.8, –5.8, –7.9, –7.9, –7.0, –7.7, –6.6, –8.2, –7.4, –7.7, and –6.8 kcal/mol, respectively. The number of hydrogen bonds between statins and amino acid residues of Mpro were 7, 4, and 3 for rosuvastatin, pravastatin, and atorvastatin, respectively, while other statins had two hydrogen bonds.

Conclusions
These results indicate, based upon the binding energy of pitavastatin, rosuvastatin, lovastatin, and fluvastatin, that statins could be efficient SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors. This is supported by the fact that the effects of some statins, especially pitavastatin, have a binding energy that is even greater than that of protease or polymerase inhibitors. However, further research is necessary to investigate their potential use as drugs for COVID-19.

keywords:

COVID-2019, main protease, statins, 6LU7, docking

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