Drug repurposing approach to combating coronavirus: Potential drugs and drug targets

Jimin Xu, Yu Xue, Richard Zhou, Pei-Yong Shi, Hongmin Li, Jia Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In the past two decades, three highly pathogenic human coronaviruses severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and, recently, SARS-CoV-2, have caused pandemics of severe acute respiratory diseases with alarming morbidity and mortality. Due to the lack of specific anti-CoV therapies, the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses a great challenge to clinical management and highlights an urgent need for effective interventions. Drug repurposing is a rapid and feasible strategy to identify effective drugs for combating this deadly infection. In this review, we summarize the therapeutic CoV targets, focus on the existing small molecule drugs that have the potential to be repurposed for existing and emerging CoV infections of the future, and discuss the clinical progress of developing small molecule drugs for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1375-1426
Number of pages52
JournalMedicinal Research Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021


  • COVID-19
  • MERS-CoV
  • SARS-CoV
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • anti-CoV
  • coronavirus
  • drug repurposing
  • drug targets
  • small molecule drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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