Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase as a potential therapeutic drug target using a computational approach

Syed Ovais Aftab, Muhammad Zubair Ghouri, Muhammad Umer Masood, Zeshan Haider, Zulqurnain Khan, Aftab Ahmad, Nayla Munawar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak originating in Wuhan, China, has raised global health concerns and the pandemic has now been reported on all inhabited continents. Hitherto, no antiviral drug is available to combat this viral outbreak. Methods: Keeping in mind the urgency of the situation, the current study was designed to devise new strategies for drug discovery and/or repositioning against SARS-CoV-2. In the current study, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), which regulates viral replication, is proposed as a potential therapeutic target to inhibit viral infection. Results: Evolutionary studies of whole-genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 represent high similarity (> 90%) with other SARS viruses. Targeting the RdRp active sites, ASP760 and ASP761, by antiviral drugs could be a potential therapeutic option for inhibition of coronavirus RdRp, and thus viral replication. Target-based virtual screening and molecular docking results show that the antiviral Galidesivir and its structurally similar compounds have shown promise against SARS-CoV-2. Conclusions: The anti-polymerase drugs predicted here - CID123624208 and CID11687749 - may be considered for in vitro and in vivo clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number275
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 7 2020


  • Active site
  • Homology modeling
  • Molecular Docking
  • Phylogenetic tree
  • RdRp
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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