Glycyrrhizin (GL) was shown to inhibit SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) replication in vitro. Here the anti-SARS-CoV activity of 15 GL derivatives was tested. The introduction of 2-acetamido-beta-d-glucopyranosylamine into the glycoside chain of GL resulted in 10-fold increased anti-SARS-CoV activity compared to GL. Amides of GL and conjugates of GL with two amino acid residues and a free 30-COOH function presented up to 70-fold increased activity against SARS-CoV but also increased cytotoxicity resulting in decreased selectivity index
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