curing hepatitis C
© Manjurul Haque |

Several drugs used for curing hepatitis C have been identified as potential candidates to treat COVID-19, according to research conducted using the MOGON II supercomputer at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Using the MOGON II computer researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) explained that they had simulated the way that 42,000 different substances bind to certain proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and inhibit the penetration of the virus.

Professor Thomas Efferth of the JGU Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, lead author of the study said: “This computer simulation method is known as molecular docking and it has been recognized and used for years. It is much faster and less expensive than lab experiments.”

“As far as we know, we were the first to have used molecular docking with SARS-CoV-2. And it is fantastic news that we have found a number of approved hepatitis C drugs as promising candidates for treatment.”

The reseachers made more than 30 billion single calculations within two months and found that compounds from the four hepatitis C drugs simeprevir, paritaprevir, grazoprevir, and velpatasvir have a high affinity to bind SARS-CoV-2 very strongly and may, therefore, be able to prevent infection.

“This is also supported by the fact that both SARS-CoV-2 and the hepatitis C virus are a virus of the same type, a so-called single-stranded RNA virus,” explained Efferth.

According to the researchers, a natural substance from the Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) might be another strong candidate against SARS-CoV-2.

“Our research results now need to be checked in laboratory experiments and clinical studies,” said Efferth.


Read the full paper here.


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