What is it about?

This study is the first broad review of how enzymes and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are intricately related. We also discussed how the enzyme market was affected by that disease. COVID-19 is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Enzymes impact COVID-19 in two different ways, the viral mechanism of action and the biomarkers of patients` prognosis. On the side of the mechanism of action, we discussed in the paper how host and viral enzymes are crucial to the infection, respectively, to SARS-CoV-2 entrance and to its replication. The host body also recruits other enzymes to fight the virus. Some host enzymes can act as prognosis biomarkers and be used to measure the progression of COVID-19. Throughout the paper, we discussed the structures of the main enzymes to the viral mechanism of action. We also presented the importance of considering the omics sciences in a complex disease such as COVID-19. We provided information about some repurposed and potential new drugs that target the main enzymes associated with COVID-19. We also showed how the technologies to target and detect the enzymes involved in the SARS-CoV-2 mechanism of action and in COVID-19 progression expanded the industrial potential of enzymes. Finally, we highlighted biocatalysis via microbial lipases as a potential tool to improve the manufacturing of structurally complex drugs. Those phenomena increased the biotechnological potential of enzymes.

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Why is it important?

As workhorses for cell functioning and SARS-CoV-2 infection, enzymes are a double-ending sword. Targeting those molecules to treat COVID-19 with repurposed or potential new drugs can be effective, but it demands caution not to harm the host even more. Structural and omics knowledge about the enzymes targeted by SARS-CoV-2 can contribute to developing even more specific drug treatments, fulfilling a gap left by still non-specific drugs for SARS-CoV-2. Prognosis biomarkers can be used to measure the progression of COVID-19 accordingly to perturbations in their concentrations. As a result, the detection and monitoring of prognosis biomarkers can help the medical teams to personalize the treatments according to the infection stage of each patient. Predictions about the enzyme market growth show this is a prospering field because the search for effective drug treatments against SARS-CoV-2 and a deeper understanding of COVID-19 is still ongoing. Lipases are well-established regio-, chemo- and stereoselective biocatalysts. Using lipases can be a valuable strategy for synthesizing drugs to fight SARS-CoV-2.


We expect this review will help the research & development teams to synthesize more specific drugs against SARS-CoV-2. We also hope that monitoring prognosis biomarkers can guide the medical teams to administer more effective drug treatments accordingly to personalized healthcare. We also expect to draw attention to the importance of enzymes for SARS-CoV-2 infection, both the already largely studied ones and the poorly mentioned ones. As the pandemic is still going on, it is necessary to keep investigating the role of host and viral enzymes and to search for tools, such as biocatalysis, that can help the improvement of the drug arsenal.

Luana Fé
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Enzymes in the time of COVID‐19: An overview about the effects in the human body, enzyme market, and perspectives for new drugs, Medicinal Research Reviews, June 2022, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1002/med.21919.
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