Repurposing of approved antivirals against dengue virus serotypes: an in silico and in vitro mechanistic study

S. H. Rashmi, K. Sai Disha, N. Sudheesh, Joseph Karunakaran, Alex Joseph, Anitha Jagadesh, P. P. Mudgal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dengue is an emerging, mosquito-borne viral disease of international public health concern. Dengue is endemic in more than 100 countries across the world. However, there are no clinically approved antivirals for its cure. Drug repurposing proves to be an efficient alternative to conventional drug discovery approaches in this regard, as approved drugs with an established safety profile are tested for new indications, which circumvents several time-consuming experiments. In the present study, eight approved RNA-dependent RNA polymerase inhibitors of Hepatitis C virus were virtually screened against the Dengue virus polymerase protein, and their antiviral activity was assessed in vitro. Schrödinger software was used for in silico screening, where the compounds were passed through several hierarchical filters. Among the eight compounds, dasabuvir was finally selected for in vitro cytotoxicity and antiviral screening. Cytotoxicity profiling of dasabuvir in Vero cells revealed changes in cellular morphology, cell aggregation, and detachment at 50 μM. Based on these results, four noncytotoxic concentrations of dasabuvir (0.1, 0.25, 0.5, and 1 µM) were selected for antiviral screening against DENV-2 under three experimental conditions: pre-infection, co-infection, and post-infection treatment, by plaque reduction assay. Viral plaques were reduced significantly (p < 0.05) in the co-infection and post-infection treatment regimens; however, no reduction was observed in the pretreatment group. This indicated a possible interference of dasabuvir with NS5 RdRp, as seen from in silico interaction studies, translating into a reduction in virus plaques. Such studies reiterate the usefulness of drug repurposing as a viable strategy in antiviral drug discovery. Graphical Abstract: In this drug repurposing study, dasabuvir, a known anti-hepatitis C drug, was selected through virtual screening and assessed for its anti-dengue activity. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Diversity
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Information Systems
  • Molecular Biology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Repurposing of approved antivirals against dengue virus serotypes: an in silico and in vitro mechanistic study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this