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International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents

Available online 12 March 2020, 105938

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International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents

New insights on the antiviral effects of chloroquine against coronavirus: what to expect for COVID-19?

Author links open overlay panelChristian A.Devauxabc

Jean-MarcRolainacPhilippeColsonacDidierRaoultac rights and content

Under a Creative Commons license

open access



This is an invited paper on the topic COVID-19 (VSI COVID-19 ).


Recently, a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), officially known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in China. Despite drastic containment measures, the spread of this virus is ongoing. SARS-CoV-2 is the aetiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) characterised by pulmonary infection in humans. The efforts of international health authorities have since focused on rapid diagnosis and isolation of patients as well as the search for therapies able to counter the most severe effects of the disease. In the absence of a known efficient therapy and because of the situation of a public-health emergency, it made sense to investigate the possible effect of chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine against SARS-CoV-2 since this molecule was previously described as a potent inhibitor of most coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-1. Preliminary trials of chloroquine repurposing in the treatment of COVID-19 in China have been encouraging, leading to several new trials. Here we discuss the possible mechanisms of chloroquine interference with the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle.









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