Structure-based virtual screening (SBVS) has served as a popular strategy for rational drug discovery. In this study, we aimed to discover novel benzopyran-based inhibitors that targeted the NS3 enzymes (NS3/4A protease and NS3 helicase) of HCV G3 using a combination of in silico and in vitro approaches. With the aid of SBVS, six novel compounds were discovered to inhibit HCV G3 NS3/4A protease and two phytochemicals (ellagic acid and myricetin) were identified as dual-target inhibitors that inhibited both NS3/4A protease and NS3 helicase in vitro (IC50 = 40.37 ± 5.47 nm and 6.58 ± 0.99 µm, respectively). Inhibitory activities against the replication of HCV G3 replicons were further assessed in a cell-based system with four compounds showed dose-dependent inhibition. Compound P8 was determined to be the most potent compound from the cell-based assay with an EC50 of 19.05 µm. The dual-target inhibitor, ellagic acid, was determined as the second most potent (EC50 = 32.37 µm) and the most selective in its inhibitory activity against the replication of HCV replicons, without severely affecting the viability of the host cells (selectivity index > 6.18).
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