Combating COVID-19: The role of drug repurposing and medicinal plants
Khan, Shah A.
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Background:A novel corona virus-2 disease has spread to 213 countries and territories across the globe. The corona pandemic has claimed more than 548,934 deaths worldwide till the evening of 8 th of July 2020 and the number of confirmed cases is increasing at an alarming rate. Therefore, there is an urgent need to find a treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19 at the earliest. The aim of this mini-review is to give an overview of identified repurposed anti-COVID-19 drugs which are currently under clinical trials. Methods:A thorough literature survey was done to retrieve relevant information using various web based search engines such as Google,Google scholar, and various other electronic research databases such as PubMed, Medline, MeSh etc. The findings of the recently published articles, clinical trials, COVID-19 update by World Health Organization etc., and the opinion of the authors is summarized in this brief review. The antiviral medicinal plants were identified based on their use in Chinese/Indian indigenous systems of medicine, traditional use, published scientific phytochemical studies and/or their effectiveness against upper respiratory infections, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Results:The disease is just over six months old and effective prophylactic or therapeutic agents are yet to be developed for COVID-19. Thus, in the absence of an effective therapy, scientific community has rationally considered the drug repurposing approach for the development of anti COVID-19 drugs. Various studies and clinical trials involving antimalarial drugs, anti-HIV drugs, anti-hepatitis drugs, anti-parasitic drug, anti-inflammatory drugs, the combination of antimalarial and macrolide antibiotic and few other molecules identified through drug repurposing are currently underway to combat COVID-19. Due emphasis is also given to develop novel corona vaccines for the prophylaxis and to identify drugs for adjunct/supportive therapy. Several medicinal plants along with their major phytochemicals exhibiting antiviral activity are identified for further exploration. It is anticipated that these natural products might also play an important role in combating COVID-19. Conclusions:Use of drug repurposing strategy to develop anti COVID-19 drugs and exploring antiviral medicinal plants as adjunct or supportive therapy appears to be a viable option. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to work in parallel on different strategies such as genetic engineering, in silico approach, herbal remedies and drug repositioning to achieve the common goal of finding a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19 at the earliest
Link to resourcehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jiph.2020.10.012
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