Spanish flu and other influenza outbreaks, the recent Zika epidemics, and the ongoing COVID-19 MESHD COVID-19 MESHD
pandemic are the most profound examples of severe widespread diseases that are caused by RNA viruses. Perhaps less well-known yet dangerous RNA viruses cause deadly diseases such as polio, Ebola, measles, rubella MESHD
, yellow fever MESHD
, dengue fever MESHD
, etc. To combat a particular viral disease by diminishing its spread and number of fatal cases, effective vaccines and antivirals are indispensable. Therefore, quick access to the means of discovery of new treatments for any epidemic outbreak is of great interest and in vitro, biochemical assays are the basis of drug discovery. The recent outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) demands an affordable and reliable assay for testing antivirals. Here, we developed a quick and inexpensive high-throughput fluorescent assay to test inhibitors of viral proteases. Accordingly, we employed this assay to sample inhibitors for papain-like protease PROTEIN
from SARS-CoV-2. In addition, we validated this assay for screening inhibitors of flaviviral protease from the tick-borne encephalitis MESHD
virus to emphasize a broad range of applications of our approach. This fluorescent high-throughput assay is based on fluorescent energy transfer (FRET) between two distinct fluorescent proteins (eGFP and mCherry) connected via a substrate polypeptide. When the substrate is cleaved, FRET is abolished and the change in fluorescence corresponds to reaction progress. Our data show that this assay can be used for testing the inhibitors in the 96 or 384 well plates format with robust and reproducible outcomes.