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Volatile molecules for COVID-19: a possible pharmacological strategy?
  • cristiano colalto
cristiano colalto
Working Group ‘‘Pharmacognosy, Phytotherapy and Nutraceuticals’’ of the Italian Pharmacological Society
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Abstract

COVID-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.