Targeting SARS-CoV-2: Novel Source of Antiviral Compound(s) against COVID-19?

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2020 Jul 1;11(13):1863-1864. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00312. Epub 2020 Jun 11.


SARS-CoV-2 remains a significant burden on human health. Several lines of evidence suggest that surveillance of sewage and waste can provide an early warning sign for COVID-19 recurrence in a community. In support, SARS-CoV-2 traces were found in sewage in several countries. With this in mind, it is notable that pests, such as cockroaches, are exposed to pathogenic microbes routinely, yet thrive in polluted environments. Such species have likely developed mechanisms to protect themselves against pathogens. In support, recent studies showed that cockroaches possess potent antibacterial molecules to shield themselves from pathogenic bacteria. Among hundreds of molecules, some contained thiazine groups, imidazoles, chromene derivatives, isoquinoline group, sulfonamides, pyrrole-containing analogs, flavanones, and furanones. Here, we propose that cockroaches are a potential source of antiviral molecules to thwart infections. Because this is an unexploited resource for potential antivirals, we believe that cockroaches offer a unique source for novel bioactive molecule(s) to counter COVID-19 with huge clinical impact worldwide.

Keywords: COVID-19; cockroaches; novel antivirals; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiviral Agents / isolation & purification
  • Betacoronavirus / drug effects*
  • Betacoronavirus / physiology
  • Biological Factors / administration & dosage*
  • Biological Factors / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • Cockroaches
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Biological Factors