What is it about?

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is the highly virulent pathogen responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic began, there was no specific treatment for the disease. One of the most attractive points of intervention for anti-COVID-19 therapies is “viral entry,” i.e., the process in which the virus fuses with the cell and enters it. This mechanism in SARS-CoV-2 is similar to that in several other types of coronaviruses. In this review, researchers focus on already developed therapeutic strategies for diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which are also caused by coronaviruses. These strategies include peptides, antibodies, small-molecule compounds, and natural products that target different receptors and proteins involved in viral entry. The above mentioned strategies could serve as a starting point for new therapies against COVID-19.

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Why is it important?

Despite two massive outbreaks of both SARS and MERS in past 15 years, there are hardly any therapies to treat COVID-19, which is caused by a very similar virus. This has contributed to the high mortality rates of the disease. Therapies for SARS and MERS could turn out to be effective against COVID-19, especially in the initial stages of the disease. Developing new drugs and vaccines and checking their safety takes time. Repurposing already approved drugs and vaccines against new diseases is a promising way to treat them quickly. KEY TAKEAWAY: Scientists predict more pandemics in the future. We need to prioritize the development of vaccines and treatments to not only control this pandemic, but to prepare ourselves for future pandemics.

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This page is a summary of: Inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 Entry: Current and Future Opportunities, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, June 2020, American Chemical Society (ACS), DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c00502.
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