Chalcogen Chemistry: Fundamentals and Applications
Chapter 22: Chalcogen-containing Therapeutic Molecules
Published:15 Feb 2023
Luca Sancineto, Vanessa Nascimento, 2023. "Chalcogen-containing Therapeutic Molecules", Chalcogen Chemistry: Fundamentals and Applications, Vito Lippolis, Claudio Santi, Eder J. Lenardão, Antonio L. Braga
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The identification of ebselen (compound 1, Figure 22.1) as a plausible anti SARS-CoV-main protease inhibitor, within the article that can be considered the first drug repurposing approach ever reported in the context of COVID19,1 lead to renewed interest around the use of selenorganic compounds as antivirals,2,3 among other therapeutic applications.4–8 From a historical perspective the first selenium-containing antiviral is selenazofurin (compound 2), developed in 1983 by Kirsi, able to inhibit the replication of a plethora of DNA and RNA viruses with a potency which was far higher than that displayed by its sulfur analog, thiazafurin (not shown), and of the marketed, broad spectrum drug ribavirin.9 Then, ebselen itself was found to be active as an anti-HIV compound due to its ability to block tat-mediated transcription10 and covalently bind the capsid protein.11 The group of Mlochowski and Giurg contributed a lot by preparing several diselenides and benzisoselenazolones endowed with antiviral activities.12–14 Some of us, in 2015, reported the identification of DiSelenoBisbenzAmides (DiSeBAs, compounds 3), diphenyldiselenides substituted in the ortho position with an amide functionality, capable of exerting a broad and selective antiviral activity.15 Their ability to inhibit viral replication is due to the inhibition of the key viral component NCp7, a zinc finger protein which is essential for the HIV to successfully duplicate.16,17 Not only HIV-1 but also HIV-2 wild type and clinical isolates resistant to the marketed drugs are inhibited by DiSeBAs.15 Several reviews,3 books,18 and book chapters7,19 have been devoted to this topic, and as a result the authors decided to limit the discussion to the most salient and timely examples of selenium-containing compounds endowed with antiviral activities detailing all the examples of compounds endowed with anti-SARS-CoV-2 properties.