Scientists, experts, and health specialists have been examining a plethora of medications that might be repurposed to fight the coronavirus disease. The researchers and experts remain hopeful that any of these turns up to be a treatment for the infection. The medications under trials for repurposing tend to fall into two categories;
- Those that target the viral replication cycle
- Those aiming to control the symptoms of the condition
1. Hydroxychloroquine and Chloroquine
These drugs are polymerase inhibitors that are intended for antimalarial medications. In malaria, these are inhibiting heme polymerase. Wherein, it causes the build-up of toxic heme in the parasite that leads to its loss. In coronavirus disease, it is thought to keep the virus out of host cells. It does this by blocking the glycosylation of host receptors. Also, it breaks the creation of viral proteins by preventing endosomal acidification.
2. Ritonavir and Lopinavir
These are human immunodeficiency virus protease inhibitors. The drugs work against the coronavirus by inhibiting 3-chymotrypsin-like protease. In some tests, the drug seems to be effective against SARS-CoV-1 but not in the new coronavirus. There is a random trial on 200 hospitalized patients who did not find these drugs to be effective. These medicines may have limited appeal. It has side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and increased risk for liver damage. These side effects can worsen the signs of coronavirus disease.
3. Nafamostat and Camostat
These drugs are for use against pancreatitis in humans, approved in Japan. These are serine protease inhibitors. Camostat is found in vitro to block the entry of the virus. It does this by acting as an antagonist to the serine protease TMPRSS2. Researchers believed that these medications can have a similar effect in inhibiting the coronavirus. These two drugs are undergoing phase 2 and 3 of clinical trials. It is to check their effectiveness against the coronavirus.
This is an H2 receptors antagonist used for the treatment of heartburn. It has been investigated that this drug was used by one of the patients in Wuhan for heartburn and seemed less likely to die from or to be intubated with severe COVID-19. How these drug works are not yet clear in fighting the coronavirus disease.
This is a small indole-derivative molecule for influenza virus A and B. Umifenovir is only licensed for use in China and Russia. This medication is a hydrophobic molecule thought to interact with proteins and lipids. By binding the viral lipid membrane, it achieves its direct-acting host-targeting and anti-viral properties. The cellular trafficking of the virus is also affected.
This is used as an anti-infective with efficacy in bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Nitazoxanide is a type of drug called thiazolidine. In viral infections, this drug acts by blocking maturation of the viral nucleocapsid N protein. Wherein, it is the one that promotes the production of the viral particles. This medicine is being tested in clinical trials against Hydroxychloroquine with another anti-parasitic medicine which is ivermectin.