< Therapy

Are there antiviral drugs to prevent the coronavirus from multiplying?

Text updated on 2020-05-11

Several antiviral drugs are being clinically tested, but none has yet been proven to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The virus is a microbe that is not autonomous: it is unable to multiply on its own. It must therefore infect a cell in order to multiply. Researchers are looking at the specific structure and life cycle of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, trying to stop it at every possible stage. In addition, so-called antiviral drugs, known to stop the life cycle of other viruses (HIV, Ebola virus with the remesivir molecule for example, etc...) are currently being tested for potential efficacy on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. This strategy is less specific, i.e. less focused on this particular virus, SARS-CoV-2. It may be potentially less effective, but it would have the advantage of being quicker to implement because the safe conditions of use of these drugs are already known.

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This site lists the vaccines and molecules currently being tested for COVID-19.

Biocentury (last access 20 April 2020).

Rahmati, M., Moosavi, A. (2020). Cytokine-Targeted Therapy in Severely ill COVID-19 Patients: Options and Cautions. EJMO, 4: 179-181.

This article reviews the data on remdesivir.

Ko, W. C., Rolain, J. M., Lee, N. Y., Chen, P. L., Huang, C. T., Lee, P. I., & Hsueh, P. R. (2020). Arguments in favour of remdesivir for treating SARS-CoV-2 infections. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. Tue 6:105933.

Several studies have identified new drugs already on the market as promising agents for the effective reduction of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. The authors also propose a molecular explanation for the cardiac side effects of hydroxychloroquine.

Gordon, D. E., Jang, G. M., Bouhaddou, M., Xu, J., Obernier, K., White, K. M., ... & Tummino, T. A. (2020). A SARS-CoV-2 protein interaction map reveals targets for drug repurposing. Nature, 1-13.

Further reading

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Is a vaccine available?

What are the current avenues of research to combat the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus?