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SARS CoV-2 and its associated disease Covid-19 first occurred in China at the end of 2019 and conquered the world in a storm. As of June 24, 2020, the World Health Organization listed 9,129,146 confirmed cases, accompanied by 473,797 deaths. An initial response by many countries was to lock down their economies, which helped flattening the curve at a high economic cost. The long-term solution will be vaccines to prevent infection and treatment drugs.
This minireview focuses on drugs against the virus itself. Among the drugs that interfere with the virus’ ability to attach to and invade the human cell, camostat mesylate looks promising in vitro, but clinical trials have not been completed yet. A phase II trial has been completed for recombinant human angiotension converting enzyme 2 that blocks the spike protein from binding to cellular ACE-2. Hydroxychloroquine is probably the most controversial of all drugs; after initial excitement, the Federal Drug Administration revoked the emergency use of this drug against SARS CoV-2. Among the inhibitors of the RNA dependent RNA polymerase of the virus, remdesivir, faripiravir which is already in a phase IV trial, and tenofovir will be discussed. Additional drugs included in this study are lopinavir/ritonavir that have previously been used against HIV and the antiparasitic drug ivermectin. Many of the presented drugs have previously been used for a different disease and are currently being trialed against SARS CoV-2.
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