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NCVTC to develop of host-directed antivirals for COVID-19

The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has approved support for a study by the National Centre for Veterinary Type Cultures (NCVTC), ICAR-NRC from Hisar in Haryana, which will screen their library of 94 small molecule chemical inhibitors for antivirals against coronaviruses.
The molecules are known to inhibit cellular kinases, phosphatases, and epigenetic regulators such as histone methyl transferase, histone deacetylase, and DNA methyl transferase. The targets of these inhibitors are well characterized in cancer, however, their role in the virus life cycle is not known. 
The selected candidates (hits) with anti-coronavirus activity will be subjected to study their molecular mechanism of action, besides examining generation of potential drug-resistant virus variants.
Viruses can only replicate inside the host cell. A host (human) cell contains around 25,000 proteins. During replication, viruses establish numerous interactions with these cellular proteins. A virus needs more than 1000 different cellular proteins to replicate inside the host cell effectively.
“Chemical library screening in medicinal chemistry research is a useful methodology that considerably shortens drug discovery and development cycle, especially for newly identified etiologic agents, such as SARS-Cov-2,” said Prof Sandeep Verma, secretary, SERB
 He pointed out that such approach provides for rapid access to useful pharmacophores and narrows down the search for preferred molecular scaffolds and is also compatible with high-throughput robotic assays. While supporting Cov-2 vaccine development programs, it is also imperative to have sufficient focus toward anti-coronavirus drug discovery pipeline
Dr. Naveen Kumar, scientist NCVTC is exploring an alternate strategy to target such cellular proteins, protein-protein (virus-host) interaction, or epigenetic regulators for antiviral drug development commonly called as host-directed antiviral therapy.  
The institute’s collection of small molecule inhibitors will be the resource from which Dr. Kumar hopes to find his antiviral weapon targeting cellular proteins, protein-protein (virus-host) interaction, or epigenetic regulators for COVID 19.

The selected candidates with anti-coronavirus activity will be subjected to study their molecular mechanism of action, besides examining generation of potential drug-resistant virus variants.

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