Lithium and coronaviral infections. A scoping review

F1000Res. 2020 Feb 7;9:93. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.22299.2. eCollection 2020.


The current rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) calls for a rapid response from the research community. Lithium is widely used to treat bipolar disorder, but has been shown to exhibit antiviral activity. This brief review took a systematic approach to identify six in vitro studies reporting on the influence of lithium on coronaviral infections. We propose mechanistic investigation of the influence of lithium - alone and with chloroquine - on the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Keywords: 2019-nCoV; Coronaviridae; GSK-3β; Wuhan; antiviral; apoptosis; coronavirus; glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta; lithium; lithium carbonate; lithium orotate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chloroquine / therapeutic use
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lithium / therapeutic use*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*


  • Chloroquine
  • Lithium

Supplementary concepts

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

Grant support

The author(s) declared that no grants were involved in supporting this work.