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Broad anti-coronaviral activity of FDA approved drugs against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and SARS-CoV in vivo.

Weston, Stuart; Coleman, Christopher; Haupt, Robert; Logue, James; Matthews, Krystal; Li, Yize; Reyes, Hanako; Weiss, Susan; Frieman, Matthew


Stuart Weston

Christopher Coleman

Robert Haupt

James Logue

Krystal Matthews

Yize Li

Hanako Reyes

Susan Weiss

Matthew Frieman


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in China at the end of 2019 and has rapidly caused a pandemic, with over 20 million recorded COVID-19 cases in August 2020 ( There are no FDA-approved antivirals or vaccines for any coronavirus, including SARS-CoV-2. Current treatments for COVID-19 are limited to supportive therapies and off-label use of FDA-approved drugs. Rapid development and human testing of potential antivirals is urgently needed. Numerous drugs are already approved for human use, and subsequently, there is a good understanding of their safety profiles and potential side effects, making them easier to fast-track to clinical studies in COVID-19 patients. Here, we present data on the antiviral activity of 20 FDA-approved drugs against SARS-CoV-2 that also inhibit SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). We found that 17 of these inhibit SARS-CoV-2 at non-cytotoxic concentrations. We directly followed up seven of these to demonstrate that all are capable of inhibiting infectious SARS-CoV-2 production. Moreover, we evaluated two of these, chloroquine and chlorpromazine, in vivo using a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV model and found that both drugs protect mice from clinical disease.


Weston, S., Coleman, C., Haupt, R., Logue, J., Matthews, K., Li, Y., …Frieman, M. (2020). Broad anti-coronaviral activity of FDA approved drugs against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and SARS-CoV in vivo. Journal of Virology, 94(21), Article e01218-20.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 14, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 19, 2020
Publication Date Oct 14, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 8, 2022
Print ISSN 0022-538X
Publisher American Society for Microbiology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 94
Issue 21
Article Number e01218-20
Public URL
Publisher URL

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