Olive-derived triterpenes suppress SARS COV-2 main protease: a promising scaffold for future therapeutics

Hani A. Alhadrami, Ahmed M. Sayed, Ahmed M. Sharif, Esam I. Azhar, Mostafa E. Rateb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


SARS CoV-2 pandemic is still considered a global health disaster, and newly emerged variants keep growing. A number of promising vaccines have been recently developed as a protective measure; however, cost-effective treatments are also of great importance to support this critical situation. Previously, betulinic acid has shown promising antiviral activity against SARS CoV via targeting its main protease. Herein, we investigated the inhibitory potential of this compound together with three other triterpene congeners (i.e., ursolic acid, maslinic acid, and betulin) derived from olive leaves against the viral main protease (Mpro) of the currently widespread SARS CoV-2. Interestingly, betulinic, ursolic, and maslinic acids showed significant inhibitory activity (IC50 = 3.22–14.55 µM), while betulin was far less active (IC50 = 89.67 µM). A comprehensive in-silico analysis (i.e., ensemble docking, molecular dynamic simulation, and binding-free energy calculation) was then performed to describe the binding mode of these compounds with the enzyme catalytic active site and determine the main essential structural features required for their inhibitory activity. Results presented in this communication indicated that this class of compounds could be considered as a promising lead scaffold for developing cost-effective anti-SARS CoV-2 therapeutics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2654
Number of pages9
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • triterpenes
  • olive leaves
  • SARS CoV-2
  • COVID-19
  • main protease
  • in-silico
  • molecular dynamic simulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Olive-derived triterpenes suppress SARS COV-2 main protease: a promising scaffold for future therapeutics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this