Nitazoxanide, a new drug candidate for the treatment of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus

J Infect Public Health. May-Jun 2016;9(3):227-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2016.04.001. Epub 2016 Apr 16.


Nitazoxanide is a broad-spectrum antiviral agent undergoing clinical development for treatment of influenza and other viral respiratory infections. Nitazoxanide exhibits in vitro activity against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and other coronaviruses, inhibiting expression of the viral N protein. Nitazoxanide also suppresses production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and suppresses interleukin 6 production in mice. Having been used extensively in clinical trials and in post-marketing experience, nitazoxanide is an attractive drug candidate for treatment of Middle East respiratory syndrome. Future research should include in vitro mechanism studies, animal models of MERS-CoV infection, clinical trials, including dose-ranging trials, and evaluation of combination therapy with other potential MERS-CoV antivirals.

Keywords: Coronavirus; MERS-CoV; Nitazoxanide; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / drug effects*
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / physiology
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology*
  • Thiazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Thiazoles
  • nitazoxanide