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Potential Leads from Liquorice against SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease using Molecular Docking Simulation Studies


Saurabh K. Sinha, Satyendra K. Prasad, Md Ataul Islam, Sushil K. Chaudhary, Shashikant Singh and Anshul Shakya*   Pages 1 - 7 ( 7 )


Aim and Objective: At present, the world is facing a global pandemic threat of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 and till date, there are no clinically approved vaccines or antiviral drugs available for the treatment of coronavirus infections. Studies conducted in China recommended the use of liquorice (Glycyrrhiza species), an integral medicinal herb of traditional Chinese medicine in the deactivation of COVID-19. Therefore, the present investigation was undertaken to identify the leads from the liquorice plant against COVID-19 using molecular docking simulation studies.

Materials and Methods: A set of reported bioactive compounds of liquorice were investigated for COVID-19 main protease (Mpro) inhibitory potential. The study was conducted on Autodock vina software using COVID-19 Mpro as a target protein having PDB ID: 6LU7.

Results: Out of the total 20 docked compounds, only six compounds showed the best affinity towards the protein target, which included glycyrrhizic acid, isoliquiritin apioside, glyasperin A, liquiritin, 1-methoxyphaseollidin and hedysarimcoumestan B. From the overall observation, glycyrrhizic acid followed by isoliquiritin apioside demonstrated the best affinity towards Mpro representing the binding energy of -8.6 and -7.9 Kcal/mol respectively. Nevertheless, the other four compounds were also quite comparable with the later one.

Conclusion: From the present investigation, we conclude that the compounds having oxane ring and chromenone ring substituted with hydroxyl 3-methylbut-2-enyl group could be the best alternative for the development of new leads from liquorice plant against COVID-19.


COVID-19, Glycyrrhizic acid, Isoliquiritin apioside, Glyasperin, Liquiritin, 1-Methoxyphaseollidin.


Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mohanlal Shukhadia University, Udaipur, Rajasthan-313 001,, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Nagpur, Maharashtra-440 033,, Division of Pharmacy and Optometry, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL,, Faculty of Pharmacy, DIT University, Makkawala, Dehradun - 248 009, Uttarakhand,, Varanasi College of Pharmacy, Varanasi- 221 105, Uttar Pradesh,, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh-786 004, Assam

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