Pathog Dis. 2020 Aug 29:ftaa046. doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftaa046. Online ahead of print.
Influenza virus and coronaviruses continue to cause pandemics across the globe. We know have a greater understanding of their function. Unfortunately the number of drugs in our armory to defend us against them are inadequate. This may require us to think about what mechanisms to address. We now review the biological properties of these viruses, their genetic evolution and antiviral therapies that can be used or have been attempted. We will describe several classes of drugs such as serine protease inhibitors, heparin, and heparan sulphate receptor inhibitors, chelating agents, immunomodulators and many others. We also briefly describe some of the drug repurposing efforts which have taken place in an effort to rapidly identify molecules to treat patients with COVID-19. While we have a heavy emphasis on the past and present efforts, we also provide some thoughts about what we need to do to prepare for respiratory viral threats in the future.