COVID-19 Drug Discovery Using Intensive Approaches

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 18;21(8):2839. doi: 10.3390/ijms21082839.


Since the infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was reported in China during December 2019, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread on a global scale, causing the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue a warning. While novel vaccines and drugs that target SARS-CoV-2 are under development, this review provides information on therapeutics which are under clinical trials or are proposed to antagonize SARS-CoV-2. Based on the information gained from the responses to other RNA coronaviruses, including the strains that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-coronaviruses and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), drug repurposing might be a viable strategy. Since several antiviral therapies can inhibit viral replication cycles or relieve symptoms, mechanisms unique to RNA viruses will be important for the clinical development of antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. Given that several currently marketed drugs may be efficient therapeutic agents for severe COVID-19 cases, they may be beneficial for future viral pandemics and other infections caused by RNA viruses when standard treatments are unavailable.

Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; drug discovery; drug repositioning; infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents* / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • China
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*


  • Antiviral Agents

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 drug treatment
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2