Targeting Proteases for Treating COVID-19
The unprecedented pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) demands effective treatment for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The infection of SARS-CoV-2 critically depends on diverse viral or host proteases, which mediate viral entry, viral protein maturation, as well as the pathogenesis of the viral infection. Endogenous and exogenous agents targeting for proteases have been proved to be effective toward a variety of viral infections ranging from HIV to influenza virus, suggesting protease inhibitors as a promising antiviral treatment for COVID-19. In this Review, we discuss how host and viral proteases participated in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 as well as the prospects and ongoing clinical trials of protease inhibitors as treatments.