3CL Protease Inhibitors
3CL Protease Inhibitors: The Potential Key to Combating the SARS-CoV-2 Virus Life Cycle
The stages in the COVID virus life cycle include binding, entry, breakdown of proteins into smaller polypeptides or amino acids, and RNA replication.
COVID-19, like any other virus, is a single strand of RNA (or DNA) wrapped in a protein envelope. The RNA contains the genetic instructions the virus needs to make copies of itself. Viruses spread with a simple two-step process:
I. Break into a healthy cell
II. Hijack the cell’s own mechanisms to make copies of itself
Studies have shown, however, that by using protease inhibitors, we can stop the virus’ ability to replicate itself, halting the spread in it tracks. To understand how this is done, let’s take a closer look at the COVID virus lifecycle:
The coronavirus 3CL hydrolase enzyme, aka main protease, with an inhibitor bound in the active site.