The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)-mediated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection remains a global pandemic and health emergency with overwhelming social and economic impacts throughout the world. Therapeutics for COVID-19 are limited to only remdesivir; therefore, there is a need for combined, multidisciplinary efforts to develop new therapeutic molecules and explore the effectiveness of existing drugs against SARS-CoV-2. In the present study, we reported eight (SCOV-L-02, SCOV-L-09, SCOV-L-10, SCOV-L-11, SCOV-L-15, SCOV-L-18, SCOV-L-22, and SCOV-L-23) novel structurally related small-molecule derivatives of niclosamide (SCOV-L series) for their targeting potential against angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), type II transmembrane serine protease (TMPRSS2), and SARS-COV-2 nonstructural proteins (NSPs) including NSP5 (3CLpro), NSP3 (PLpro), and RdRp. Our correlation analysis suggested that ACE2 and TMPRSS2 modulate host immune response via regulation of immune-infiltrating cells at the site of tissue/organs entries. In addition, we identified some TMPRSS2 and ACE2 microRNAs target regulatory networks in SARS-CoV-2 infection and thus open up a new window for microRNAs-based therapy for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our in vitro study revealed that with the exception of SCOV-L-11 and SCOV-L-23 which were non-active, the SCOV-L series exhibited strict antiproliferative activities and non-cytotoxic effects against ACE2- and TMPRSS2-expressing cells. Our molecular docking for the analysis of receptor-ligand interactions revealed that SCOV-L series demonstrated high ligand binding efficacies (at higher levels than clinical drugs) against the ACE2, TMPRSS2, and SARS-COV-2 NSPs. SCOV-L-18, SCOV-L-15, and SCOV-L-09 were particularly found to exhibit strong binding affinities with three key SARS-CoV-2’s proteins: 3CLpro, PLpro, and RdRp. These compounds bind to the several catalytic residues of the proteins, and satisfied the criteria of drug-like candidates, having good adsorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity (ADMET) pharmacokinetic profile. Altogether, the present study suggests the therapeutic potential of SCOV-L series for preventing and managing SARs-COV-2 infection and are currently under detailed investigation in our lab.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104654
JournalArabian Journal of Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • ACE2
  • Antiproliferation
  • Nonstructural proteins
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • SCOV-L series, niclosamide derivatives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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