First structure-activity relationship analysis of SARS-CoV-2 virus main protease (Mpro) inhibitors: an endeavor on COVID-19 drug discovery
Main protease (Mpro) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) intervenes in the replication and transcription processes of the virus. Hence, it is a lucrative target for anti-viral drug development. In this study, molecular modeling analyses were performed on the structure activity data of recently reported diverse SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors to understand the structural requirements for higher inhibitory activity. The classification-based quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) models were generated between SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitory activities and different descriptors. Identification of structural fingerprints to increase or decrease in the inhibitory activity was mapped for possible inclusion/exclusion of these fingerprints in the lead optimization process. Challenges in ADME properties of protease inhibitors were also discussed to overcome the problems of oral bioavailability. Further, depending on the modeling results, we have proposed novel as well as potent SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors.