Host-directed therapies for improving poor treatment outcomes associated with the middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus infections

Alimuddin Zumla, Esam I. Azhar, Yaseen Arabi, Badriah Alotaibi, Martin Rao, Brian McCloskey, Eskild Petersen, Markus Maeurer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Three years after its first discovery in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, the novel zoonotic pathogen of humans, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) continues to be a major threat to global health security. Sporadic community acquired cases of MERS continue to be reported from the Middle East. The recent nosocomial outbreaks in hospitals in Seoul, Korea and at the National Guard Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia indicate the epidemic potential of MERS-CoV. Currently there are no effective anti-MERS-CoV anti-viral agents or therapeutics and MERS is associated with a high mortality rate (40%) in hospitalised patients. A large proportion of MERS patients who die have a range of pulmonary pathology ranging from pneumonia to adult respiratory distress syndrome with multi-organ failure, compounded by co-morbidities, reflecting a precarious balance of interactions between the host- immune system and MERS-CoV. Whilst we wait for new MERS-CoV specific drugs, therapeutics and vaccines to be developed, there is a need to advance a range of Host-Directed Therapies. A range of HDTs are available, including commonly used drugs with good safety profiles, which could augment host innate and adaptive immune mechanisms to MERS-CoV, modulate excessive inflammation and reduce lung tissue destruction. We discuss the rationale and potential of using Host-Directed Therapies for improving the poor treatment outcomes associated with MERS. Carefully designed randomized controlled trials will be needed to determine whether HDTs could benefit patients with MERS. The recurrent outbreaks of MERS-CoV infections at hospitals in the Middle East present unique opportunities to conduct randomized clinical trials. The time has come for a more coordinated global response to MERS and a multidisciplinary global MERS-CoV response group is required to take forward priority research agendas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-74
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Host-directed therapies for improving poor treatment outcomes associated with the middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus infections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this