Could Histamine H1 Receptor Antagonists Be Used for Treating COVID-19?

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 26;22(11):5672. doi: 10.3390/ijms22115672.


COVID-19 has rapidly become a pandemic worldwide, causing extensive and long-term health issues. There is an urgent need to identify therapies that limit SARS-CoV-2 infection and improve the outcome of COVID-19 patients. Unbalanced lung inflammation is a common feature in severe COVID-19 patients; therefore, reducing lung inflammation can undoubtedly benefit the clinical manifestations. Histamine H1 receptor (H1 receptor) antagonists are widely prescribed medications to treat allergic diseases, while recently it has emerged that they show significant promise as anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents. Here, we briefly summarize the novel use of H1 receptor antagonists in combating SARS-CoV-2 infection. We also describe the potential antiviral mechanisms of H1 receptor antagonists on SARS-CoV-2. Finally, the opportunities and challenges of the use of H1 receptor antagonists in managing COVID-19 are discussed.

Keywords: COVID-19; H1 receptor antagonists; NF-κB signaling; drugs; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • COVID-19 / metabolism
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2 / drug effects*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • NF-kappa B
  • Receptors, Histamine H1