The recent outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019 raised global health concerns. The viral 3-chymotrypsin-like cysteine protease (3CLpro) enzyme controls coronavirus replication and is essential for its life cycle. 3CLprois a proven drug discovery target in the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Recent studies revealed that the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 is very similar to that of SARS-CoV. Therefore, herein, we analysed the 3CLprosequence, constructed its 3D homology model, and screened it against a medicinal plant library containing 32,297 potential anti-viral phytochemicals/traditional Chinese medicinal compounds. Our analyses revealed that the top nine hits might serve as potential anti- SARS-CoV-2 lead molecules for further optimisation and drug development process to combat COVID-19.
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