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Chinese Therapeutic Strategy for Fighting COVID-19 and Potential Small-Molecule Inhibitors against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

  • Choudhry, Namrta1
  • Zhao, Xin2
  • Xu, Dan1
  • Zanin, Mark3, 4
  • Chen, Weisan5
  • Yang, Zifeng3
  • Chen, Jianxin1
  • 1 Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Veterinary Pharmaceutics Development and Safety Evaluation, Guangdong Laboratory for Lingnan Modern Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China. , (China)
  • 2 Guangdong Institute of Analysis (China National Analytical Center, Guangzhou), Guangzhou 510070, China. , (China)
  • 3 State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, National Clinical Research Center for Respiratory Disease, Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510120, China. , (China)
  • 4 School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, 7 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, SAR, China. , (China)
  • 5 Department of Biochemistry and Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia. , (Australia)
Published Article
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Sep 11, 2020
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c00626
PMID: 32845145


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to more than 20 million people infected worldwide with an average mortality rate of 3.6%. This virus poses major challenges to public health, as it not only is highly contagious but also can be transmitted by asymptomatic infected individuals. COVID-19 is clinically difficult to manage due to a lack of specific antiviral drugs or vaccines. In this article, Chinese therapy strategies for treating COVID-19 patients, including current applications of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), are comprehensively reviewed. Furthermore, 72 small molecules from natural products and TCM with reported antiviral activity against human coronaviruses (CoVs) are identified from published literature, and their potential applications in combating SARS-CoV-2 are discussed. Among these, the clinical efficacies of some accessible drugs such as remdesivir (RDV) and favipiravir (FPV) for COVID-19 are emphatically summarized. We hope this review provides a foundation for managing the worsening pandemic and developing antivirals against SARS-CoV-2.

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