Noscapine, a possible drug candidate for attenuation of cytokine release associated with SARS-CoV-2

Drug Dev Res. 2020 Nov;81(7):765-767. doi: 10.1002/ddr.21676. Epub 2020 Apr 26.


Successful treatment of viral infections has proven to be huge challenge for modern medicine with the most effective approach being prior vaccination. The problem with vaccination is the time it takes to develop an effective vaccine, validate its safety and manufacture it in large quantities. Facing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), we simply do not have the time to develop the vaccine before thousands of people die. Therefore, any treatment which can decrease the severe symptoms due to lung damage may help attenuate mortality rates. Inactivation of ACE2 during virus fusion into the host cell may be one of the underlying reasons for intense immunological reaction seen in the lung tissue. This overreaction is probably mediated through the bradykinin receptor activation. Noscapine, a medication used for the treatment of cough, has been shown to inhibit bradykinin enhanced cough response in man. As it is already marketed in a number of countries as a cough medicine, even for children, a suitable formulation with all the required licenses is available that can be rapidly utilized in preliminary trials.

Keywords: ACE2; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / metabolism
  • Bradykinin / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Bradykinin / metabolism
  • COVID-19 / immunology*
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Humans
  • Noscapine / pharmacology*
  • Noscapine / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Bradykinin / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Bradykinin
  • Noscapine
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Bradykinin