Therapeutic options for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)--possible lessons from a systematic review of SARS-CoV therapy

Int J Infect Dis. 2013 Oct;17(10):e792-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2013.07.002. Epub 2013 Aug 29.


The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been detected in a number of countries in the Middle East and Europe with an apparently high mortality rate. It is phylogenetically related to the SARS coronavirus and has also been associated with severe respiratory illness as well as nosocomial transmission in healthcare settings. Current international recommendations do not support any specific therapies; however, there are a number of agents, which were used during the SARS epidemic of 2003. It is possible that these might be active against the related MERS coronavirus. We have reviewed the literature on the safety and efficacy of therapies used in patients with SARS with a view to their potential use in patients with MERS-CoV infections.

Keywords: Interferon; MERS-CoV; Ribavarin; SARS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Lopinavir / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Ritonavir / therapeutic use
  • SARS Virus*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Lopinavir
  • Ritonavir