The repurposed drugs suramin and quinacrine cooperatively inhibit sars-cov-2 3clpro in vitro
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Since the first report of a new pneumonia disease in December 2019 (Wuhan, China) the WHO reported more than 148 million confirmed cases and 3.1 million losses globally up to now. The causative agent of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide, resulting in a pandemic of unprecedented magnitude. To date, several clinically safe and efficient vaccines (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines) as well as drugs for emergency use have been approved. However, increasing numbers of SARS-Cov-2 variants make it imminent to identify an alternative way to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections. A well-known strategy to identify molecules with inhibitory potential against SARS-CoV-2 proteins is repurposing clinically developed drugs, e.g., antiparasitic drugs. The results described in this study demonstrated the inhibitory potential of quinacrine and suramin against SARS-CoV-2 main protease (3CLpro ). Quinacrine and suramin molecules presented a competitive and noncompetitive inhibition mode, respectively, with IC50 values in the low micromolar range. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) experiments demonstrated that quinacrine and suramin alone possessed a moderate or weak affinity with SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro but suramin binding increased quinacrine interaction by around a factor of eight. Using docking and molecular dynamics simulations, we identified a possible binding mode and the amino acids involved in these interactions. Our results suggested that suramin, in combination with quinacrine, showed promising synergistic efficacy to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro . We suppose that the identification of effective, synergistic drug combinations could lead to the design of better treatments for the COVID-19 disease and repurposable drug candidates offer fast therapeutic breakthroughs, mainly in a pandemic moment.