In times of COVID-19 pandemic, science is advancing very fast, faster than ever. The first vaccines and various diagnosis probes are already in the market. There is an approved drug, remdesivir, and intensive work is being done on drug repurposing, with massive studies in clinical trials. In this highlight, I would like to call your attention on small peptides and amino acid derivatives able to inhibit SARS-CoV2 main protease (Mpro). Originated from previous knowledge on protease inhibitors of other coronavirus, the first molecule of this type has just reached phase I clinical studies for COVID-19 treatment (NCT04627532). Once more, the importance of basic research in academic centers and the necessary collaboration with pharmaceutical companies is evidenced.
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Contributed by Rosario González-Muñiz
Rosario is a Senior Researcher at the Medicinal Chemistry Institute (IQM-CSIC), Madrid. She is involved in peptides, secondary structure mimics and small-molecule peptidomimetics of application in biological/medicinal chemistry programs, especially related to the modulation of ion channels and associated proteins.