A special issue on the emerging COVID-19 infection

Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B publishes special issue on 'Research on Emerging COVID-19 (Target, Mechanism, and Therapeutics)' edited by Hai-Bin Luo, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; Shilin Chen, Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing, China and Peiqing Liu, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome, hypercoagulability, hypertension, and multiorgan dysfunction. In recent months, due to its high infectivity and pathogenicity, SARS-CoV-2 has gradually spread to more than 200 countries and regions, resulting in more than 500,000 deaths globally.

There is an urgent need for effective prevention and treatment (drugs and vaccines) against this highly pathogenic coronavirus. This special issue includes original five research articles, three review articles, and two letters to the editor covering topics around the identification of readily available drugs or natural products as a rapid way to provide clinical treatment in COVID-19 therapy.

Featured papers in this issue are:

Potential therapeutic effects of dipyridamole in the severely ill patients with COVID-19 by authors Xiaoyan Liu, Zhe Li, Shuai Liu, Jing Sun and Hai-Bin Luo. Effective antivirals with safe clinical profile are urgently needed to improve the overall prognosis.

In an analysis of a randomly collected cohort of 124 patients with COVID-19, the authors found that hypercoagulability as indicated by elevated concentrations of D-dimers was associated with disease severity. By virtual screening of a U.S. FDA approved drug library, the authors identified an anticoagulation agent dipyridamole (DIP) in silico, which suppressed SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro.

Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein RNA binding domain reveals potential unique drug targeting sites by authors Sisi Kang, Mei Yang, Zhongsi Hong, Liping Zhang and Shoudeng Chen . The structural information of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein remains unclear.

The authors have determined the 2.7 Å crystal structure of the N-terminal RNA binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein and revealed potential unique drug targeting sites, which can help guide the design of novel antiviral agents targeting SARS-CoV-2.

D3Targets-2019-nCoV: a webserver for predicting drug targets and for multi-target and multi-site based virtual screening against COVID-19 by authors Yulong Shi, Xinben Zhang, Kaijie Mu, Cheng Peng and Weiliang Zhu. The authors have developed a molecular docking-based web server D3Targets-2019-nCoV to accelerate drug discovery against COVID-19.

The server has two functions; one, to predict targets for active compounds, and two, to identify potent compounds via virtual screening. The webserver is useful to medical chemists, pharmacologists and clinicians for efficiently discovering or developing effective drugs against SARS-CoV-2.

Other articles published in the issue include:

Review articles

Combating COVID-19 with integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine in China Liqiang Ni, Lili Chen, Xia Huang, Chouping Han, Hongzhuan Chen.

Bioactive natural compounds against human coronaviruses: a review and perspective Yanfang Xian, Juan Zhang, Zhaoxiang Bian, Hua Zhou, Hongxi Xu.

Highly pathogenic coronaviruses: thrusting vaccine development in the spotlight Chunting He, Ming Qin, Xun Sun.

Journal reference:

Chen, S., et al. (2020) Special Column: Research on Emerging COVID-19 (Target, Mechanism, and Therapeutics). Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B.


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