Identifying Antiviral SARS-CoV2

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee will conduct research on the identification of antivirals to treat SARS-CoV2. This follows in the wake of the go-ahead given by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) to the proposal led by Pravindra Kumar, professor, Department of Biotechnology, IIT-Roorkee.

The study will be funded as part of the Intensification of Research in High Priority areas (IRHPA) program of SERB under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The research project will identify small molecule inhibitors to target key viral replication enzymes-RNA dependent RNA polymerase (nsp12), viral proteases (Mpro and PL2pro,) and the Methyltransferase or MTase (nsp14). These enzymes are virus-specific that are encoded with genetic material (RNA) of the viral pathogens. Virus-specific protease catalyzes the cleavage of specific peptide bonds in viral polyproteins.

“The objective of the study is to identify antiviral molecules to combat COVID-19. It will expedite the process of identification of drugs through an in-silico approach that is based on computer-aided simulation of their molecular structures,” says Pravindra Kumar.

The study will leverage a computer-based high throughput virtual screening approach to identify antiviral molecules from various compound libraries that will be validated for antiviral potential. It will be conducted in collaboration with Shailly Tomar, professors, Dept of Biotechnology, IIT Roorkee, and Gaurav Sharma from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Izatnagar, who will help in the assessment of the antiviral efficacy of the identified molecule to treat SARS-CoV2.

“This approach can be path-breaking in the identification of antiviral molecules to fight COVID-19,” says Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee.





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