Exploring the pathogenesis and potential therapeutic candidates for
COVID-19: A quest into the unknown
COVID-19 is an acute respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that emerged in the Wuhan City of China in December 2019 and evolved into a global pandemic, resulting in unprecedented morbidity and mortality. To date, there are no proven drugs or vaccines against this virus. Hence, the situation demands an urgent need to explore all potential therapeutic strategies that can be made available to prevent the disease progression and improve patient outcomes. With growing knowledge regarding the pathogenesis of COVID-19, several repurposed drugs and investigational agents are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for their probable benefits in the treatment of this condition. Though several observational studies have claimed some of these drugs to be effective based on in vitro or extrapolated evidence, the currently available data remains inconclusive because of ill-defined patient selection criteria, small sample size, lack of concurrent controls, and use of intermediary outcomes instead of patient-relevant outcomes. Moreover, there is a need to clearly define the patient populations who warrant therapy and also, the timing of initiation of treatment. This review explains the pathophysiology of COVID-19 and summarizes the potential treatment options which can provide guidance in developing effective therapeutic strategies.