PERSPECTIVES ON ANTIVIRAL DRUGS DEVELOPMENT IN THE TREATMENT OF COVID-19

Aura RUSU 1†, Eliza-Mihaela ARBĂNAȘI 1†, Ioana-Andreea LUNGU 2*, Octavia-Laura MOLDOVAN 3
1 Department F2, Discipline of Pharmaceutical and Therapeutical Chemistry, “George Emil Palade” University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science, and Technology of Târgu Mureș
2 Department F2, Discipline of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, “George Emil Palade” University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science, and Technology of Târgu Mureș
3 Department F1, Discipline of Organic Chemistry, “George Emil Palade” University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science, and Technology of Târgu Mureș

The main objective of this review is to highlight the urgent development of new antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2 in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Antiviral medication against SARS-CoV-2 comprises only remdesivir as an approved drug. Scientists are making considerable efforts to identify other effective antivirals. Investments into the de novo design of new drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus are few. Molnupiravir proved to be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is very close to approval. Pfizer’s two new compounds (PF-07321332, oral administration and PF-07304814, systemic administration) are in the early stages of development. Two types of methods are preferred to discover new antivirals in a short period. Repositioning of approved drugs for antiviral effect conducted to some clinical results for favipiravir, lopinavir/ritonavir, danoprevir/ritonavir, umifenovir, hydroxychloroquine, camostat and nafamostat. Virtual screening of known molecules’ libraries indicated several compounds that were tested or are being tested in clinical trials. In conclusion, only a few innovative antiviral molecules are in various stages of development. However, the repositioning of many known compounds is being studied, including using virtual screening. The pharmaceutical industry is adapting and reinventing itself so that humanity can face a new pandemic in the future.