Flavonoids with inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro

Seri Jo, Suwon Kim, Dae Yong Kim, Mi Sun Kim, Dong Hae Shin

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82 Scopus citations


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been a pandemic disease of which the termination is not yet predictable. Currently, researches to develop vaccines and treatments is going on globally to cope with this disastrous disease. Main protease (3CLpro) from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is one of the good targets to find antiviral agents before vaccines are available. Some flavonoids are known to inhibit 3CLpro from SARS-CoV which causes SARS. Since their sequence identity is 96%, a similar approach was performed with a flavonoid library. Baicalin, herbacetin, and pectolinarin have been discovered to block the proteolytic activity of SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro. An in silico docking study showed that the binding modes of herbacetin and pectolinarin are similar to those obtained from the catalytic domain of SARS-CoV 3CLpro. However, their binding affinities are different due to the usage of whole SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro in this study. Baicalin showed an effective inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro and its docking mode is different from those of herbacetin and pectolinarin. This study suggests important scaffolds to design 3CLpro inhibitors to develop antiviral agents or health-foods and dietary supplements to cope with SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1539-1544
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • FRET
  • SARS-CoV 3CL protease
  • antiviral
  • flavonoid
  • inhibitory compounds


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