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 targetting key host and viral targets in the mid-term, by first screening these targets against drugs already licensed; an agenda for drug re-purposing, which should allow rapid translation to clinical trials. A simultaneous, multi-pronged approach using conventional drug discovery methodologies aimed at discovering novel chemical and biological means targetting a short-list of host and viral entities 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.
Keywords: COVID-19; RNA polymerase; SARS-CoV-2; proteinase.
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