Antiviral Drug Discovery

IIT ROORKEE RESEARCH ON ANTIVIRAL DRUG DISCOVERY (MOLECULAR VIROLOGY)

Molecular Virology research Laboratory of Prof. ShaillyTomar, Dept of Biotechnology, IIT Roorkee has expertise in antiviral drug discovery. The group is focusing on developing small molecule antiviral therapy for COVID-19. The disease is caused by SARS-CoV2, a plus-strand, single-stranded RNA virus. This coronavirus enters the host cell by recognizing a receptor on these cells via the viral surface glycoprotein protein.
Dr. Tomar’s group has identified a few FDA-approved drugs that can potentially inhibit the entry of the virus into the host cell by blocking molecular interactions between the host cell receptor ACE2 and the S-protein of the virus. Computational based drug molecules that target virus-specific protease has also been carried out. Keeping drug repurposing in mind, these molecules have been identified using a computer-based high throughput virtual screening approach. The studies have been published in March 2020 on ChemRxiv as preprints (https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.12005988.v1; https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.12030345.v1). Being an RNA virus, the SARS-CoV2 virus has the potential to mutate and become resistant to antiviral drugs. Keeping this in mind, Prof.Tomar’s research group is also conducting research on targeting host proteins that are essential for the survival of the virus inside the host. A cancer drug has been identified that targets a host enzyme essential for RNA virus survival.
IIT Roorkee is joining DBT led NCR research consortium on COVID19. Evaluation of the antiviral efficacy of the identified drug molecules against the SARS-CoV2 virus will be conducted by utilizing the national research facilities of DBT that are part of this consortium. IIT Roorkee is also collaborating with Karolinska Institute, Sweden for COVID19 research.

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