Molecular mechanisms of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and potential anti-COVID19 pharmacological targets since the outbreak of the pandemic

Food Chem Toxicol. 2020 Dec:146:111805. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2020.111805. Epub 2020 Oct 8.


The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has emerged as a severe threat against public health and global economies. COVID-19, the disease caused by this virus, is highly contagious and has led to an ongoing pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 affects, mainly, the respiratory system, with most severe cases primarily showcasing acute respiratory distress syndrome. Currently, no targeted therapy exists, and since the number of infections and death toll keeps rising, it has become a necessity to study possible therapeutic targets. Antiviral drugs can target various stages of the viral infection, and in the case of SARS-CoV-2, both structural and non-structural proteins have been proposed as potential drug targets. This review focuses on the most researched SARS-CoV-2 proteins, their structure, function, and possible therapeutic approaches.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Pandemic; Protein; SARS-CoV-2; Spike.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19 / virology*
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity*
  • Viral Proteins* / metabolism


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Viral Proteins