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. 2020 Mar 27;117(13):213-219.
doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2020.0213.

Medication for COVID-19-an Overview of Approaches Currently Under Study

Free PMC article

Medication for COVID-19-an Overview of Approaches Currently Under Study

Ralf Stahlmann et al. Dtsch Arztebl Int. .
Free PMC article


Background: With the worldwide spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection, it is becoming increasingly urgent to develop a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as well as effective drugs to treat it.

Methods: This article is based on a selective literature search in PubMed and, followed by an assessment of the ongoing clinical trials that were revealed by the search.

Results: A number of substances have been found to prevent the reproduction of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. These include virustatic agents that have already been approved for the treatment of other types of viral infection, as well as drugs that are currently used for entirely different purposes. High in vitro activity has been found for the nucleotide analogue remdesivir, for the antimalarial drug chloroquine, and for nitazoxanide, a drug used to treat protozoan infections. Because the virus enters human cells by way of the membrane-associated angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), keeping the virus from docking to this receptor is a conceivable treatment approach. Transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) plays a role in the fusion of the virus with cells; inhibitors of this enzyme are known as well. The potential therapeutic efficacy and tolerability of these and other active substances remain to be investigated in clinical trials. At present, more than 80 trials on COVID-10 have already been registered with Clinical- Some initial findings should already be available in late April 2020.

Conclusion: Clinical trials are now indispensable in order to determine the true clinical benefits and risks of the substances that have been found to be active against SARSCoV- 2 in vitro. There is not yet any recommendation for the therapeutic use of any particular agent beyond standard supportive treatment.


Schematic representation of the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle showing the sites of action of potential therapeutics; ER, endoplasmic reticulum

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