The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee will be conducting research to invent an antiviral drug for the treatment of coronavirus. It was Professor Pravindra Kumar of the institute who put forward this proposition, which has now been given the nod by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB).
“The study will identify small molecule inhibitors to target key viral replication enzymes- RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (nso12), viral proteases (Mpro and PL2pro) and the Methyltransferase or MTase (nsp14),” an official release said.
These enzymes are virus-specific which are encoded with the genetic material of the viral pathogens. Protease which is virus-specific catalyzes the cleavage of specific peptide bonds in viral polyproteins. The study will be funded under the Intensification of Research in High-Priority Areas (IRHPA) under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The foundation of the research has already been made by the completion of computer-based work based on a high throughput virtual screening approach to analyze the binding affinity of the Food and Drugs Administration-approved drugs that target Mpro- a viral protease.
Antiviral molecules from a number of compound libraries will be identified and validated for antiviral potential.
In the research, Professor Shailly Tomar of the Department of Biotechnology of IIT Roorkee, and Dr Gaurav Sharma from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, will collaborate to analyze the antiviral efficiency of the identified molecule to treat coronavirus. The subsequent results could be pathbreaking, according to Professor Ajit K Chaturvedi, the Director of IIT Roorkee.