A rational roadmap for SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pharmacotherapeutic research and development: IUPHAR Review 29

Br J Pharmacol. 2020 Nov;177(21):4942-4966. doi: 10.1111/bph.15094. Epub 2020 Jul 19.


In this review, we identify opportunities for drug discovery in the treatment of COVID-19 and, in so doing, provide a rational roadmap whereby pharmacology and pharmacologists can mitigate against the global pandemic. We assess the scope for targeting key host and viral targets in the mid-term, by first screening these targets against drugs already licensed, an agenda for drug repurposing, which should allow rapid translation to clinical trials. A simultaneous, multi-pronged approach using conventional drug discovery methods aimed at discovering novel chemical and biological means of targeting a short list of host and viral entities which should extend the arsenal of anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents. This longer term strategy would provide a deeper pool of drug choices for future-proofing against acquired drug resistance. Second, there will be further viral threats, which will inevitably evade existing vaccines. This will require a coherent therapeutic strategy which pharmacology and pharmacologists are best placed to provide. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed issue on The Pharmacology of COVID-19. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v177.21/issuetoc.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Drug Development
  • Drug Discovery
  • Drug Repositioning
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antiviral Agents