Rapamycin as a potential repurpose drug candidate for the treatment of COVID-19

Amjad Husain, Siddappa N. Byrareddy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The novel human coronavirus-2 (HCoV-2), called SARS-CoV-2, is the causative agent of Coronavirus Induced Disease (COVID-19) and has spread causing a global pandemic. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent infection nor any approved drug for the treatment. The development of a new drug is time-consuming and cannot be relied on as a solution in combatting the immediate global challenge. In such a situation, the drug repurposing becomes an attractive solution to identify the potential of COVID-19 treatment by existing drugs, which are approved for other indications. Here, we review the potential use of rapamycin, an mTOR (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin) inhibitor that can be repurposed at low dosages for the treatment of COVID-19. Rapamycin inhibits protein synthesis, delays aging, reduces obesity in animal models, and inhibits activities or expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-2, IL-6 and, IL-10. Overall, the use of rapamycin can help to control viral particle synthesis, cytokine storms and contributes to fight the disease by its anti-aging and anti-obesity effects. Since, rapamycin targets the host factors and not viral machinery, it represents a potent candidate for the treatment of COVID-19 than antiviral drugs as its efficacy is less likely to be dampened with high mutation rate of viral RNA. Additionally, the inhibitory effect of rapamycin on cell proliferation may aid in reducing viral replication. Therefore, by drug repurposing, low dosages of rapamycin can be tested for the potential treatment of COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109282
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Drug repurposing
  • Rapamycin
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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