Drug repurposing approaches to combating viral infections

Jay Trivedi, Mahesh Mohan, Siddappa N. Byrareddy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Development of novel antiviral molecules from the beginning costs an average of $350 million to $2 billion per drug, and the journey from the laboratory to the clinic takes about 10–15 years. Utilization of drug repurposing approaches has generated substantial interest in order to overcome these drawbacks. A drastic reduction in the failure rate, which otherwise is ~92%, is achieved with the drug repurposing approach. The recent exploration of the drug repurposing approach to combat the COVID-19 pandemic has further validated the fact that it is more beneficial to reinvestigate the in-practice drugs for a new application instead of designing novel drugs. The first successful example of drug repurposing is zidovudine (AZT), which was developed as an anti-cancer agent in the 1960s and was later approved by the US FDA as an anti-HIV therapeutic drug in the late 1980s after fast track clinical trials. Since that time, the drug repurposing approach has been successfully utilized to develop effective therapeutic strategies against a plethora of diseases. Hence, an extensive application of the drug repurposing approach will not only help to fight the current pandemics more efficiently but also predict and prepare for newly emerging viral infections. In this review, we discuss in detail the drug repurposing approach and its advancements related to viral infections such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3777
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Drug repurposing/reprofiling
  • HIV
  • Zidovudine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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