RNA-targeted small-molecule agents against SARS-CoV-2. Discovery of RNA-binding antivirals for treatment of COVID-19
Fundación Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir, Valencia, Spain
The objective of our project is to identify antivirals that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication by acting on the virus RNA. This addresses an unmet need in the COVID-19 pandemia, since presently there is no effective treatment for the infection caused by the virus. The research project is based on:
(i) the evaluation and characterization of a variety of RNA-targeted antiviral leads including proprietary protein alpha-helix mimics and drug-like molecules as well as FDA-approved drugs susceptible to repurposing.
(ii) the discovery of new leads acting on a highly conserved SARS-CoV-2 RNA functional motif.
Relative to other anti-SARS-CoV agents under investigation, RNA-targeted compounds may have the advantage of reduced rates of resistance because functional RNA structures are frequently conserved. This also means that RNA-directed molecules could be used as wide-spectrum antivirals for treating other virus outbreaks likely to happen in the future.