The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus continually poses serious threats to global public health. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 plays a central role in viral replication. We designed and synthesized 32 new bicycloproline-containing Mpro inhibitors derived from either Boceprevir or Telaprevir, both of which are approved antivirals. All compounds inhibited SARS-CoV-2 Mpro activity in vitro with IC50 values ranging from 7.6 to 748.5 nM. The co-crystal structure of Mpro in complex with MI-23, one of the most potent compounds, revealed its interaction mode. Two compounds (MI-09 and MI-30) showed excellent antiviral activity in cell-based assays. In a SARS-CoV-2 infection transgenic mouse model, oral or intraperitoneal treatment with MI-09 or MI-30 significantly reduced lung viral loads and lung lesions. Both also displayed good pharmacokinetic properties and safety in rats.
West China Hospital, SCU