Life Sci. 2020 Aug 17:118275. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2020.118275. Online ahead of print.
The recent outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first in Eastern Asia and then essentially across the world has been declared a pandemic by the WHO. COVID-19 is caused by a novel virus SARS-CoV2 (2019-nCoV), against which there is currently no vaccine available; and current antiviral therapies have failed, causing a very high mortality rate. Drug repurposing i.e. utilizing an approved drug for different indication, offers a time- and cost-efficient alternative for making new therapies available to patients. Although there are several reports presenting novel approaches to treat COVID-19, still an attentive review of previous scientific literature is essential to overcome their failure to exhibit efficacy. There is an urgent need to provide a comprehensive outlook toward utilizing drug repurposing as a tool for discovery of new therapies against COVID-19. In this article, we aim to provide a to-the-point review of current literature regarding efficacy of repurposed drugs against COVID-19 and other respiratory infections caused by coronaviruses. We have briefly discussed COVID-19 epidemiology, and then have discussed drug repurposing approaches and examples, specific to respiratory viruses. Limitations of utilization of repurposed drug molecules such as dosage regimen and associated challenges such as localized delivery in respiratory tract have also been discussed in detail.