IMR Press / FBL / Volume 26 / Issue 12 / DOI: 10.52586/5064
Open Access Review
The need for a multi-level drug targeting strategy to curb the COVID-19 pandemic
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1 Postgraduate Research Institute of Science, Technology, Environment and Medicine, 3021 Limassol, Cyprus
*Correspondence: (George J. Kontoghiorghes)
Academic Editor: Graham Pawelec
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2021, 26(12), 1723–1736;
Submitted: 10 August 2021 | Revised: 27 November 2021 | Accepted: 1 December 2021 | Published: 30 December 2021
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by BRI.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Thousands of drugs, nutraceuticals and their combinations can be used to select candidate therapeutics for targeting SARS-CoV-2 and its symptoms in order to curb COVID-19. A comprehensive, multi-level strategy against COVID-19 should include drug targeting of biomolecules and biochemical pathways involved in the prevention and proliferation of the infection, and the fatal or serious symptoms following infection. Several drugs are routinely used in the treatment of different categories of seriously ill COVID-19 patients including tocilizumab, remdesivir and dexamethasone. The current risk/benefit assessment supports the emergency testing and approval of more drugs. The process for new drug selection could be based on the identification of one drug for one target, or of a multi-potent drug for many targets and drug combinations for one or more targets, that can cause a substantial reduction in the high mortality rate of COVID-19. Several drugs have been identified that can fit this potential role by targeting different stages of COVID-19 including baricitinib, molnupiravir and PF-07321332/ritonavir and also the combination of deferiprone with N-acetylcysteine for inhibiting the vicious circle of oxidative stress toxicity and endothelial cell damage. Most of these drugs are expected to be effective against all the SARS-CoV-2 variants including Omicron (B.1.1.529) and also the associated COVID-19 complications.

Drug targeting
Health strategies
Fig. 1.
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