Repurposing Drugs for COVID-19: An Approach for Treatment in the Pandemic.
Drug repurposing is a relevant approach during the COVID-19 pandemic, because development of new drugs is time-consuming and costly, and the safety of new drugs is paramount. Drug repurposing focuses on researching new indications for existing drugs and can reduce the challenges faced in drug development. The current review intended to examine the current status of drugs being repurposed for COVID-19 treatment. The research team performed a literature review, searching relevant literature databases to find abstracts of relevant articles in journals published from 2010 until May 16, 2020. The sources of data included Google Scholar, PubMed, and ScienceDirect. The search terms used included repositioning of drugs, repurposing of drugs and COVID-19 therapy, and SARS-CoV-2 therapy. The research team conducted this study at the Department of Pharmacology, Punjab University College of Pharmacy, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan; Mangalbare Hospital, Morang, Nepal; and Dr Iwamura Memorial Hospital, Bhaktapur, Nepal. Repurposing of drugs from different pharmacological groups including antivirals like remdesivir, lopinavir, ritonavir, arbidol, oseltamivir, penciclovir, favipiravir, ganciclovir, and ribavirin; other antibiotics like azithromycin, ivermectin, eravacycline, valrubicin, streptomycin, nitazoxanide, teicoplanin, caspofungin, and colistin; and other agents like hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, tocilizumab, camostat, nafamostat, carfilzomib, interferon, aprepitant, and dexamethasone can be considered for COVID-19 therapy. Although current results are promising, limitations to drug repurposing, such as a low success rate and the possibility of adverse events, can’t be overlooked. With continuous research and technical advancements, repurposing will no doubt provide a notable scientific contribution to innovation in drug development and pharmacotherapy practice for the treatment of new diseases or existing diseases in a new way.