COVID-19 therapeutics: challenges and directions for the future

Department of Biochemistry researchers led by Professors Nicole Zitzmann and Raymond Dwek have published a new article called "COVID-19 therapeutics: challenges and directions for the future " in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In this article, the authors reflect on the advancements, innovations, challenges and unmet needs that the scientific and medical community faced during the current COVID pandemic. They discuss existing therapeutics and address future opportunities, emphasising also the need to develop broad spectrum antiviral oral drugs which are vital in addressing infections by new viruses. More specifically, they find that host-directed antivirals have utility against a wide range of viruses including emerging ones, and thus may prevent epidemics turning into pandemics. 

Development of oral broad-spectrum host-targeting antivirals should be a priority for preventing future viral epidemics from turning into pandemics.


Professors Dwek and Zitzmann

Professors Raymond Dwek and Nicole Zitzmann

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 triggering the COVID-19 pandemic ranks as arguably the greatest medical emergency of the last century. COVID-19 has highlighted health disparities both within and between countries and will leave a lasting impact on global society. Nonetheless, substantial investment in life sciences over recent decades has facilitated a rapid scientific response with innovations in viral characterization, testing, and sequencing. Perhaps most remarkably, this permitted the development of highly effective vaccines, which are being distributed globally at unprecedented speed. In contrast, drug treatments for the established disease have delivered limited benefits so far. Innovative and rapid approaches in the design and execution of large-scale clinical trials and repurposing of existing drugs have saved many lives; however, many more remain at risk. In this review we describe challenges and unmet needs, discuss existing therapeutics, and address future opportunities. Consideration is given to factors that have hindered drug development in order to support planning for the next pandemic challenge and to allow rapid and cost-effective development of new therapeutics with equitable delivery. To read the full paper, please click here


Professors Nicole Zitzmann and Raymond Dwek

April 26 2022