Volatile molecules for COVID-19: a possible pharmacological strategy?
AbstractCOVID-19 is a novel viral pneumonia with a higher incidence of bilateral
pneumonia and pleural effusion. The high pulmonary tropism and
contagiousness of the virus SARS-CoV-2 should stimulate new approaches
to combat its widespread diffusion. In the development of new
pharmacological strategies, the volatility of molecules is argued to add
as much value as the desired antiviral and anti-inflammatory effect.
Volatile molecules are characterized by a high vapour pressure and are
consequently easily exhaled by the lungs. This feature could be
exploited from a pharmacological point of view, reaching the site of
action in an uncommon way but allowing for drug delivery. In this way, a
hypothetical candidate molecule for COVID-19 must have a balance between
its lung exhalation characteristics and antiviral and anti-inflammatory
pharmacological action. Here, the feasibility, advantages and
disadvantages of a therapy based on volatile molecules will be
discussed. Known aerosolized antiviral drugs and volatile molecules are
briefly reviewed, and a complete evaluation of the latter is provided in
view of a possible clinical use.