Review Article

Overview of therapeutic drug research for COVID-19 in China

Heng Li1,2, Li Yang1, Fei-fei Liu1,2, Xin-na Ma3, Pei-lan He1, Wei Tang1, Xian-kun Tong1, Jian-ping Zuo1,2,3
1 Laboratory of Immunopharmacology, Shanghai Institute of MateriaMedica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3 Laboratory of Immunology and Virology, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
Correspondence to: Xian-kun Tong:, Jian-ping Zuo:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-020-0438-y
Received: 17 March 2020
Accepted: 10 May 2020
Advance online: 17 June 2020


Since the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) in December 2019, more than 2,500,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 as of April 22. In response to this epidemic, China has issued seven trial versions of diagnosis and treatment protocol for COVID-19. According to the information that we have collected so far, this article provides an overview of potential therapeutic drugs and compounds with much attention, including favipiravir and hydroxychloroquine, as well as traditional Chinese medicine, which have been reported with good clinical treatment effects. Moreover, with further understanding of SARS-CoV-2 virus, new drugs targeting specific SARS-CoV-2 viral components arise and investigations on these novel anti-SARS- CoV-2 agents are also reviewed.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; novel coronavirus pneumonia; therapeutic drugs; anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents; favipiravir; hydroxychloroquine; traditional Chinese medicine

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