Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been affecting the world since the end of 2019. The severity of the disease can range from an asymptomatic or mild course to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with respiratory failure, which may lead to death. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, scientists around the world have been studying the genome and molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection to develop effective therapies and prevention. In this review, we summarize the progressive development of various treatments and vaccines as they have emerged, a year after the outbreak of the pandemic. Initially for COVID-19, patients were recommended drugs with presumed antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects that were previously used to treat other diseases. Thereafter, therapeutic interventions were supplemented with promising approaches based on antibodies, peptides, and stem cells. However, licensed COVID-19 vaccines remain the most effective weapon in combating the pandemic. While there is an enormous effort to enhance the vaccination rate to increase the entire population immunity, the production and delivery of vaccines is becoming limited in several countries. In this regard, there are new challenges needing to be addressed by combining non-pharmacological intervention with effective therapies until vaccination is accessible to all.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; antibodies; cytokine storm; therapy; vaccines.