About this Research Topic
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for variable clinical manifestations, ranging from an asymptomatic infection to severe respiratory distress syndrome, with a high risk of death in some patients. To date no specific antiviral drug has been approved, and the treatment of the disease mainly relies on medicines treating symptoms and supportive care. It has been demonstrated that one of the most important mechanisms behind the deterioration of the clinical condition is a cytokine storm, induced by high levels of pro-inflammatory molecules, such as Interferon-α, Interferon-β and IL-6. Therefore, reducing the release or activity of pro-inflammatory mediators could prevent or reverse the cytokine storm syndrome, thereby improving the condition of patients. Moreover, a severe symptomatology can also be complicated by coagulopathy, supporting the use of anticoagulant treatment. Conclusive data about efficacy and safety of medicines in clinical trial for COVID-19 are still not available.
Effective and safe treatments for COVID-19 are urgently needed. A considerable amount of molecules has been employed to treat patients according to preliminary preclinical and clinical results. Most of the ongoing clinical trials have been designed to test well-known (or anyway already approved) drugs.
Drug repurposing allows to rapidly study treatments, at lower costs and with reduced risk of failure as the safety profile of the medicine is typically well-established. Developing new drugs is obviously a lengthy process, thus unfeasible to face the immediate global emergency. At present, well-known anti-infective molecules (cloroquine/hydroxychloroquine, anti-retroviral drugs, anti-influenza, antibacterial agents), anti-rheumatic/anti-cytokine release syndrome drugs, antithrombotic agents are under clinical development for COVID-19.
The aim of this Research Topic is to explore the role of repurposed drugs with different mechanism of action (e.g. anti-viral, immunosuppressive/anti-inflammatory activity, pleiotropic activity) for COVID-19 and to reflect on regulatory challenges for drug repurposing in the pandemic era.
Keywords: COVID-19, repurposed drugs, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, pleiotropic activity, drug repurposing
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