Cell Discov. 2020 Dec 22;6(1):96. doi: 10.1038/s41421-020-00235-0.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has now spread to >200 countries posing a global public health concern. Patients with comorbidity, such as hypertension suffer more severe infection with elevated mortality. The development of effective antiviral drugs is in urgent need to treat COVID-19 patients. Here, we report that calcium channel blockers (CCBs), a type of antihypertensive drug that is widely used in clinics, inhibited the post-entry replication events of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, while no in vitro anti-SARS-CoV-2 effect was observed for the two other major types of antihypertensive drugs, namely, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers. CCB combined with chloroquine showed a significantly enhanced anti-SARS-CoV-2 efficacy. A retrospective clinical investigation on hospitalized COVID-19 patients with hypertension as the only comorbidity revealed that the CCB amlodipine besylate therapy was associated with a decreased case fatality rate. The results from this study suggest that CCB administration to COVID-19 patients with hypertension as the comorbidity might improve the disease outcome.