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Molecular Insights of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Molecular Treatments

Author(s):

Lama Abdurrahman, Xiaoqian Fang and Yonghong Zhang *  

Abstract:


The coronavirus disease emerged in December 2019 (COVID-19) caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its rapid global spread has brought an international health emergency and urgent responses for seeking efficient prevention and therapeutic treatment. This has led to imperative needs for illustration of the molecular pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2, identification of molecular targets or receptors, and development of antiviral drugs, antibodies, and vaccines. In this study, we investigated the current research progress in combating SARS-CoV-2 infection. Based on the published research findings, we first elucidated, at the molecular level, SARS-CoV-2 viral structures, potential viral host-cell-invasion and pathogenic mechanisms, main virus-induced immune responses, and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. We then focused on the main virus- and host-based potential targets, summarized and categorized effective inhibitory molecules based on drug development strategies for COVID-19, that can guide efforts for the identification of new drugs and treatment for this problematic disease. Current research and development of antibodies and vaccines were also introduced and discussed. We concluded that the main virus entry route- SARS-CoV-2 spike protein interaction with ACE2 receptors has played a key role in guiding the development of therapeutic treatments against COVID-19, four main therapeutic strategies may be considered in developing molecular therapeutics, and drug repurposing is likely to be an easy, fast and low-cost approach in such a short period of time with urgent need of antiviral drugs. Additionally, the quick development of antibody and vaccine candidates has yielded promising results, but the wide-scale deployment of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines remains paramount in solving the pandemic crisis. As new variants of the virus begun to emerge, the efficacy of these vaccines and treatments must be closely evaluated. Finally, we discussed the possible challenges of developing molecular therapeutics for COVID-19 and suggested some potential future efforts. Despite the limited availability of literatures, our attempt in this work to provide a relatively comprehensive overview of current SARS-CoV-2 studies can be helpful for quickly acquiring the key information of COVID-19 and further promoting this important research to control and diminish the pandemic.

Keywords:

SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, viral molecules, potential targets, molecular inhibitors, antibodies, vaccines

Affiliation:

Department of Chemistry, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas 78539, Department of Molecular Science, School of Medicine, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas 78539, Department of Chemistry, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas 78539



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