A novel property of hexokinase inhibition by Favipiravir and proposed advantages over Molnupiravir and 2 Deoxy D glucose in treating COVID-19

Biotechnol Lett. 2022 Jul;44(7):831-843. doi: 10.1007/s10529-022-03259-6. Epub 2022 May 24.


Purpose: In the wake of SARS-CoV-2's global spread, human activities from health to social life to education have been affected. Favipiravir and Molnupiravir exhibited novel hexokinase inhibition and we discuss advantages of this property in their COVID-19 inhibition potential.

Methods: This paper describes molecular docking data of human hexokinase II with Favipiravir, Cyan 20, Remdesivir, 2DG, and Molnupiravir along with hexokinase inhibition assays.

Results: Favipiravir, an antiviral drug previously cleared for treating the flu and ebola, has shown some promise in early trials to treat COVID-19. We observed potent human hexokinase inhibiting potential of Favipiravir (50%) as against 4% and merely 0.3% hexokinase inhibition with Molnupiravir and 2 Deoxy D glucose at 0.1 mM concentration supported by molecular docking studies.

Conclusion: Favipiravir could continue to be part of the COVID-19 treatment regimen due to its resistance to host esterases, hexokinase inhibition potential and proven safety through human trials.

Keywords: 2 Deoxy D glucose; COVID-19; Favipiravir; Hexokinase; Molecular docking; Molnupiravir.

MeSH terms

  • Amides
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • COVID-19* / drug therapy
  • Cytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyglucose / pharmacology
  • Hexokinase
  • Humans
  • Hydroxylamines
  • Molecular Docking Simulation
  • Pyrazines
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Amides
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hydroxylamines
  • Pyrazines
  • Cytidine
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Hexokinase
  • favipiravir
  • molnupiravir

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 drug treatment