Researchers at the Ural Federal University in Russia have identified a possible basis for effective drugs and treatments against COVID-19 infection: the chemical compound Salen, which is able to effectively bind various coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) proteins.
Experts tested the compound’s potential activity against a number of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, which cause COVID-19. “We found that Salen can potentially interact with the proteins studied, and the best results were obtained for the non-structural protein nsp14, which protects the virus from destruction”, explains Damir Safin, who signed the research.
Salen and its derivatives are important ligands in many fields of practical application because it is an organic compound capable of coordinating some metals and can even stabilize them in different oxidation states.
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As part of Salen contains two “fluid” hydrogen atoms of hydroxyl groups, each of these hydrogen atoms can move into nitrogen atoms, thus forming different forms of the molecule. This process is called tautomerization and the tautomers or tautomeric forms participate in it.
“We explored the potential interaction of various tautomers with SARS-CoV-2 proteins to identify the most preferred tautomeric form of the studied molecule in terms of its effectiveness in interacting with proteins”, emphasizes Safin.
However, despite finding Salen’s ability to bind proteins, the researchers point out that this is just a first step towards curing COVID-19. “There is still a lot to be explored, but the results we obtained inspire a certain optimism”, says Damir.
The study was carried out by scientists from the Center for Innovation in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technologies at Ural Federal University, Kurgan State University and Tyumen State University, all in Russia. The research was published in the scientific journal Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds.