Feasibility of known rna polymerase inhibitors as anti-sars-cov-2 drugs

Ujjwal Neogi, Kyle J. Hill, Anoop T. Ambikan, Xiao Heng, Thomas P. Quinn, Siddappa N. Byrareddy, Anders Sönnerborg, Stefan G. Sarafianos, Kamal Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Coronaviruses (CoVs) are positive-stranded RNA viruses that infect humans and animals. Infection by CoVs such as HCoV-229E,-NL63,-OC43 and-HKU1 leads to the common cold, short lasting rhinitis, cough, sore throat and fever. However, CoVs such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and the newest SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) lead to severe and deadly diseases with mortality rates ranging between ~1 to 35% depending on factors such as age and pre-existing conditions. Despite continuous global health threats to humans, there are no approved vaccines or drugs targeting human CoVs, and the recent outbreak of COVID-19 emphasizes an urgent need for therapeutic interventions. Using computational and bioinformatics tools, here we present the feasibility of reported broad-spectrum RNA polymerase inhibitors as anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs targeting its main RNA polymerase, suggesting that investigational and approved nucleoside RNA polymerase inhibitors have potential as anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs. However, we note that it is also possible for SARS-CoV-2 to evolve and acquire drug resistance mutations against these nucleoside inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number320
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • MERS-CoV
  • Nsp12
  • RNA polymerase
  • SARS-CoV
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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