Computer-Selected Antiviral Compounds: Assessing In Vitro Efficacies against Rift Valley Fever Virus

Cigdem Alkan, Terrence O’Brien, Victor Kenyon, Tetsuro Ikegami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rift Valley fever is a zoonotic viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, impacting both humans and livestock. Currently, there are no approved vaccines or antiviral treatments for humans. This study aimed to evaluate the in vitro efficacy of chemical compounds targeting the Gc fusion mechanism. These compounds were identified through virtual screening of millions of commercially available small molecules using a structure-based artificial intelligence bioactivity predictor. In our experiments, a pretreatment with small molecule compounds revealed that 3 out of 94 selected compounds effectively inhibited the replication of the Rift Valley fever virus MP-12 strain in Vero cells. As anticipated, these compounds did not impede viral RNA replication when administered three hours after infection. However, significant inhibition of viral RNA replication occurred upon viral entry when cells were pretreated with these small molecules. Furthermore, these compounds exhibited significant inhibition against Arumowot virus, another phlebovirus, while showing no antiviral effects on tick-borne bandaviruses. Our study validates AI-based virtual high throughput screening as a rational approach for identifying effective antiviral candidates for Rift Valley fever virus and other bunyaviruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number88
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • AI-based computational drug discovery
  • Arumowot virus
  • Dabie bandavirus
  • Gc fusion loop
  • Heartland virus
  • Rift Valley fever
  • small molecule compound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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