Could Artesunate Have a Positive Effect on the Neurological Complications Related to Infection When It Is Used in the Treatment of COVID-19?

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2020 Dec 16;11(24):4001-4006. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00601. Epub 2020 Dec 3.


Artesunate is a safe noncytotoxic drug with low side effects which is used in the treatment of chloroquine-resistant malaria. In addition to being an antimalarial drug, artesunate also has immunomodulatory, anticarcinogenic, and antiviral activity. There are in vivo and in vitro studies reporting that artesunate may have a positive effect on the treatment of COVID-19. Artesunate may be effective based on its effect on the anti-inflammatory activity, chloroquine-like endocytosis inhibition mechanism, and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signal pathway. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may cause neurological complications in addition to targeting the respiratory system. In this study, we have discussed the possible neuroprotective action mechanisms of artesunate. We think that systemic and intranasal topical artesunate administration may have a positive effect on neurological complications resulting from COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; Guillain-Barré; NF-κB; artesunate; intranasal; neurological; thrombocytosis.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Artemisinins / pharmacology
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Chloroquine / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / drug effects
  • SARS-CoV-2 / drug effects*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Artemisinins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Chloroquine