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Mechanistic insights into the inhibitory activity of FDA approved ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2: old drug with new implications

Qureshi et al., Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, doi:10.1080/07391102.2021.1906750
May 2021  
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In Silico study showing inhibition of importin-α1 by ivermectin, which disrupts SARS-CoV-2 replication.
Ivermectin, better known for antiparasitic activity, is a broad spectrum antiviral with activity against many viruses including H7N7 Götz, Dengue Tay, Wagstaff, HIV-1 Wagstaff, Simian virus 40 Wagstaff (B), Zika Barrows, Yang, West Nile Yang, Yellow Fever Mastrangelo, Varghese, Japanese encephalitis Mastrangelo, Chikungunya Varghese, Semliki Forest virus Varghese, Human papillomavirus Li, Epstein-Barr Li, BK Polyomavirus Bennett, and Sindbis virus Varghese.
Ivermectin is an inhibitor of importin-α/β-dependent nuclear import of viral proteins Götz, Kosyna, Wagstaff, Wagstaff (B), a SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro inhibitor Mody, binds to glycan sites on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein preventing interaction with blood and epithelial cells and inhibiting hemagglutination Boschi, exhibits dose-dependent inhibition of lung injury Abd-Elmawla, Ma, may inhibit SARS-CoV-2 induced formation of fibrin clots resistant to degradation Vottero, shows protection against inflammation, cytokine storm, and mortality in an LPS mouse model of severe infection/inflammation that shares key pathological features of severe COVID-19 DiNicolantonio, Zhang, may be beneficial in severe COVID-19 by binding IGF1 to inhibit the promotion of inflammation, fibrosis, and cell proliferation that leads to lung damage Zhao, may minimize SARS-CoV-2 induced cardiac damage Liu, Liu (B), has immunomodulatory Munson and anti-inflammatory DiNicolantonio (B), Yan properties, and has an extensive and very positive safety profile Descotes.
Qureshi et al., 5 May 2021, peer-reviewed, 6 authors.
In Silico studies are an important part of preclinical research, however results may be very different in vivo.
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Mechanistic insights into the inhibitory activity of FDA approved ivermectin against SARS-CoV-2: old drug with new implications
Urooj Qureshi, Sonia Mir, Sehrish Naz, Mohammad Nur-E-Alam, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Zaheer Ul-Haq
Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, doi:10.1080/07391102.2021.1906750
The novel corona virus has become a great challenge worldwide since 2019, as no drug has been reported yet. Different clinical trials are still under way. Among them is Ivermectin (IVM), an FDA approved drug which was recently reported as a successful candidate to reduce SARS-CoV-2 viral load by inhibiting Importin-a1 (IMP-a1) protein which subsequently affects nuclear transport of viral proteins but its basic binding mode and inhibitory mechanism is unknown. Therefore, we aimed to explore the inhibitory mechanism and binding mode of IVM with IMP-a1 via different computational methods. Initially, comparative docking of IVM was performed against two different binding sites (Nuclear Localization Signal (NLS) major and minor sites) of IMP-a1 to predict the probable binding mode of IVM. Then, classical MD simulation was performed (IVM/NLS-Major site and IVM/NLS-Minor site), to predict its comparative stability dynamics and probable inhibitory mechanism. The stability dynamics and biophysical analysis of both sites highlighted the stable binding of IVM within NLS-Minor site by establishing and maintaining more hydrophobic contacts with crucial residues, required for IMP-a1 inhibition which were not observed in NLS-major site. Altogether, these results recommended the worth of IVM as a possible drug to limit the SARS-CoV-2 viral load and consequently reduces its progression.
Disclosure statement The authors declare no competing financial interests. Author contributions SN and ZU hypothesized and designed the project. SM carried out the benchmarking and docking. UQ set up the MS system and carried out the simulations. SN, SM and UQ drafted the manuscript. ZU, M.N and SA facilitate the research work and reviewed the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the manuscript. ORCID Zaheer Ul-Haq
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