Unprecedented efforts of the researchers have been witnessed in the recent past towards the development of vaccine platforms for the control of the COVID-19 pandemic. Albeit, vaccination stands as a practical strategy to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, supplementing the anti-COVID19 arsenal with therapeutic options such as small molecules/peptides and antibodies is being conceived as a prudent strategy to tackle the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Noteworthy to mention that collective efforts from numerous teams have led to the generation of a voluminous library composed of chemically and mechanistically diverse small molecules as anti-COVID19 scaffolds. This review article presents an overview of medicinal chemistry campaigns and drug repurposing programs that culminated in the identification of a plethora of small molecule-based anti-COVID19 drugs mediating their antiviral effects through inhibition of proteases, S protein, RdRp, ACE2, TMPRSS2, cathepsin and other targets. In light of the evidence ascertaining the potential of small molecule drugs to approach conserved proteins required for the viral replication of all coronaviruses, accelerated FDA approvals are anticipated for small molecules for the treatment of COVID19 shortly. Though the recent attempts invested in this direction in pursuit of enrichment of the anti-COVID-19 armoury (chemical tools) are praiseworthy, some strategies need to be implemented to extract conclusive benefits of the recently reported small molecule viz. (i) detailed preclinical investigation of the generated anti-COVID19 scaffolds (ii) in-vitro profiling of the inhibitors against the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants (iii) development of assays enabling rapid screening of the libraries of anti-COVID19 scaffold (iv) leveraging the applications of machine learning based predictive models to expedite the anti-COVID19 drug discovery campaign (v) design of antibody-drug conjugates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
Pages (from-to)65
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • 3CLpro inhibitors
  • ACE-2
  • Coronaviruses
  • COVID-19
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Peptides
  • PLpro inhibitors
  • RdRp inhibitors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Small molecule inhibitors
  • TMPRSS2 drug repurposing
  • TMPRSS2 inhibitors
  • Vaccines
  • Viral entry
  • Viral replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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