Hearty Congratulations to Dr. Malay Kumar Rana and his team for their recent publication in ACS JPC Letters
To date, mechanistic insights into many clinical drugs against COVID-19 remain unexplored. Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, is one of them. While treating the entire corticosteroid database, including vitamins D2 and D3, with cutting-edge computational techniques, several intriguing results are unfolded. From the top-notch candidates, dexamethasone is likely to inhibit the viral main protease (Mpro), with vitamin D3 exhibiting multitarget [Mpro, papain-like protease (PLpro), and nucleocapsid protein (N-pro)] roles and ciclesonide’s dynamic flipping disinterring a cryptic allosteric site in the PLpro enzyme. The results rationalize why these drugs improve the health of COVID-19 patients. Understanding an enzyme’s secret binding site is essential to understanding how the enzyme works and how to inhibit its function. Ciclesonide’s allosteric inhibition could not only jeopardize PLpro’s catalytic role in polyprotein processing but also make it less vulnerable to the host body’s defense machinery. Hotspot residues in the identified allosteric site could be considered for effective therapeutic designs against PLpro.