Introduction: Therapy of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) involves evolving algorithms that include drugs aimed at reducing disease progression by counteracting two different, but intertwined processes: (i) the damage caused by the virus (with antivirals); (ii) the damage caused by a dysregulated host response (with immunomodulatory agents). Areas covered: Herein, we discuss the available evidence on the efficacy and safety of antiviral agents employed over the past months for the treatment of COVID-19, and the reasons to be considered for antiviral selection. Expert opinion: The available evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCT) currently discourages the use of lopinavir/ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, and interferons, which did not show improved efficacy compared to standard care or placebo. Regarding remdesivir, the current body of evidence may conditionally support its use in COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen supplementation but still not requiring invasive mechanical ventilation. Finally, neutralizing monoclonal antibodies have been proven efficacious in reducing the risk of severe disease development if administered early in the course of the disease to patients at risk of progression. The results of the ongoing RCT will certainly be crucial to further improve our understanding of the optimal place in therapy of antiviral agents for COVID-19.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health