Development of chemical inhibitors of the SARS coronavirus: Viral helicase as a potential target
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was the first pandemic in the 21st century to claim more than 700 lives worldwide. However, effective anti-SARS vaccines or medications are currently unavailable despite being desperately needed to adequately prepare for a possible SARS outbreak. SARS is caused by a novel coronavirus, and one of its components, a viral helicase, is emerging as a promising target for the development of chemical SARS inhibitors. In the following review, we describe the characterization, family classification, and kinetic movement mechanisms of the SARS coronavirus (SCV) helicase-nsP13. We also discuss the recent progress in the identification of novel chemical inhibitors of nsP13 in the context of our recent discovery of the strong inhibition of the SARS helicase by natural flavonoids, myricetin and scutellarein. These compounds will serve as important resources for the future development of anti-SARS medications.
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