Microbial Natural Products with Antiviral Activities, Including Anti-SARS-CoV-2: A Review

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The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which caused the COVID-19 infection, was discovered two and a half years ago. It caused a global pandemic, resulting in millions of deaths and substantial damage to the worldwide economy. Currently, only a few vaccines and antiviral drugs are available to combat SARS-CoV-2. However, there has been an increase in virus-related research, including exploring new drugs and their repurposing. Since discovering penicillin, natural products, particularly those derived from microbes, have been viewed as an abundant source of lead compounds for drug discovery. These compounds treat bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral infections. This review incorporates evidence from the available research publications on isolated and identified natural products derived from microbes with anti-hepatitis, anti-herpes simplex, anti-HIV, anti-influenza, anti-respiratory syncytial virus, and anti-SARS-CoV-2 properties. About 131 compounds with in vitro antiviral activity and 1 compound with both in vitro and in vivo activity have been isolated from microorganisms, and the mechanism of action for some of these compounds has been described. Recent reports have shown that natural products produced by the microbes, such as aurasperone A, neochinulin A and B, and aspulvinone D, M, and R, have potent in vitro anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity, targeting the main protease (Mpro). In the near and distant future, these molecules could be used to develop antiviral drugs for treating infections and preventing the spread of disease.

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