Coronaviruses may cause respiratory, enteric and central nervous system diseases in many species, including humans. Until recently, the relatively low burden of disease in humans caused by few of these viruses hampered development of coronavirus specific therapeutics. However, the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) has prompted the discovery of such drugs. Subsequent studies in animal models demonstrated the efficacy of SARS-CoV specific monoclonal antibodies, pegylated-interferon-α and siRNAs against SARS-CoV. Furthermore, several antivirals shown to be effective against other viruses were tested in vitro. Because of availability and shown efficacy, the use of interferons may be considered should SARS-CoV or a related coronavirus (re)-emerge. The more recent design of wide-spectrum inhibitors targeting the coronavirus main proteases may lead to the discovery of new antivirals against multiple coronavirus induced diseases.

Antivirals, Coronaviruses, SARS, Therapy,
Antiviral Research
Department of Virology

Haagmans, B.L, & Osterhaus, A.D.M.E. (2006). Coronaviruses and their therapy. Antiviral Research, 71(2-3 SPEC. ISS.), 397–403. doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2006.05.019