Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Drugs Used to Control COVID-19 and their Effects on the Renin-Angiotensin System and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-2

J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2020;23:259-277. doi: 10.18433/jpps31346.


COVID-19 infection is associated with systemic inflammation, and sometimes hyperinflammatory responses with cytokine storm. This plays a major role in COVID-19 severity and poor disease prognosis, even death. Higher levels of inflammatory hallmarks including C-reactive protein, ferritin, D-dimers, and cytokines such as interleukin (IL) -6, IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor- α (TNF-α) have been reported. Many anti-viral drugs have been tried, but none were proven fully effective. Supportive care and management of the complications that are caused mainly by inflammation might be the key to greater survival rates and shorter hospitalization (e.g., the use of remdesivir, lopinavir, ritonavir, umifenovir (arbidol), oseltamivir, ganciclovir, favipiravir, darunavir, hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, colchicine, azithromycin, anakinra, canakinumab, tocilizumab, siltuximab, sarilumab, Type 1 interferon, interferon β-1a, interferon α- 2b, baricitinib, ruxolitinib, fedratinib, methylprednisolone and dexamethasone). However, the efficacy of these treatments still needs well-planned clinical trials. In such trials, careful attention must be paid to the duration of the treatment, the onset of beneficial effects, and the severity of the disease, otherwise, the outcomes may still remain inconclusive. Herein, we present a review of the current drugs, which are being used in the management of the disease and their anti-inflammatory properties. We also investigated if these drugs directly interact with Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE 2), which is a crucial component of the virus entry to the cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / virology
  • Pandemics
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / metabolism
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2