Emerging pharmacotherapy for COVID-19

Brian Lipworth (Lead / Corresponding author), Chris Kuo, Rory Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
231 Downloads (Pure)


Broadly speaking, pharmacological treatments for COVID-19 can be divided into those acting on upstream pathways early on in the disease process via suppression of viral replication or by inhibiting cell entry, and those acting on downstream pathways later on via selective attenuation of the adaptive immune cytokine-mediated in ammatory response. The antiviral drug remdesivir has been shown to shorten duration of disease while interferon beta-1b may speed up viral clearance. The results with hydroxychloroquine have thus far been rather disappointing. Trials with selective cytokine blockers including anti-interleukin-1 (anti-IL-1) and anti-interleukin-6 (anti-IL-6), have shown some promise in more severe cases, with further con rmation being required from large-scale phase-3 randomised controlled trials. The likelihood is that combination therapy addressing both upstream and downstream pathways may be required to prevent progression of severe COVID-19 infection in susceptible older patients with comorbidities and we believe further studies are now warranted to speci cally target such at-risk groups who are more prone to worse outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-137
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV2
  • pneumonia
  • cytokine
  • hyperinflammation
  • antivirals
  • ACE2
  • ARDS
  • corticosteroid
  • comorbidity


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