In an unprecedented effort, hundreds of thousands of researchers and clinicians worldwide are locked in a race against time to develop cures, vaccines, and better diagnostic tests for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. Over 1,650 articles on COVID-19 are already listed in databases such as Google Scholar, while dozens more are added daily. The register (htttp://www.ClinicalTrials.gov) lists over 460 ongoing clinical trials on COVID-19, although the majority are still in the earliest stages. Given the diversity of experimental approaches among these studies, a systematic review of possible clinical strategies is timely and welcome. In a new study, aimed at the research community but also comprehensible for non-specialists, experts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) review possible strategies against dangerous coronaviruses--not only SARS-CoV-2 and its relatives such as SARS-Cov (causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS) and MERS-Cov (causing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, MERS), but also as yet unknown strains that will inevitably emerge in the future. The open-accessreview was published online on April 24, 2020 in Frontiers in Microbiology and is titled “The Current and Future State of Vaccines, Antivirals and Gene Therapies Against Emerging Coronaviruses.” The authors propose that the most promising approaches for fast progress are selected antivirals such as remdesivir, and gene therapy. "Coronaviruses represent a true threat to human health and the global economy. We must first consider novel counter-measures to control the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic virus and then the vast array of high-threat zoonotic viruses that are poised for human emergence in the future," says Dr. Ralph Baric, William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UNC-Chapel Hill.
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