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REVIEW: Molecular Targets in the Chemotherapy of Coronavirus Infection

O. P. Zhirnov1,2

1The Russian-German Academy of Medical and Biotechnological Sciences, 121205 Moscow, Skolkovo, Russia

2Ivanovsky Institute of Virology, Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, 123098 Moscow, Russia

Received March 18, 2020; Revised March 22, 2020; Accepted March 22, 2020
In the pathogenesis of the infectious process in the respiratory tract by SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 coronaviruses, two stages can be distinguished: early (etiotropic) and late (pathogenetic) ones. In the first stage, when the virus multiplication and accumulation are prevalent under insufficient host immune response, the use of chemotherapeutic agents blocking the reproduction of the virus is reasonable to suppress the development of the disease. This article considers six major chemotherapeutic classes aimed at certain viral targets: inhibitors of viral RNA polymerase, inhibitors of viral protease Mpro, inhibitors of proteolytic activation of viral protein S allowing virus entry into the target cell, inhibitors of virus uncoating in cellular endosomes, compounds of exogenous interferons, and compounds of natural and recombinant virus-neutralizing antibodies. In the second stage, when the multiplication of the virus decreases and threatening pathological processes of excessive inflammation, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary edema, hypoxia, and secondary bacterial pneumonia and sepsis events develop, a pathogenetic therapeutic approach including extracorporeal blood oxygenation, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial therapy seems to be the most effective way for the patient’s recovery.
KEY WORDS: coronaviruses, COVID-19, chemotherapy, pathogenesis, drugs

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297920050016