Azithromycin for COVID-19: Mechanistic Rationale and Evidence of Benefit

Authors: I. Giesselink, W. Janssens, P. Wergam, R. Vos

Leuven University Clinic, BREATHE Research Group, Belgium

The lack of time to develop and test new specific drugs for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is causing interest in drugs that are already well studied and put into practice. In the context of current knowledge about the pathogenesis of COVID-19, scientists and clinicians are primarily interested in drugs with antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that could reduce the viral load, quench the cytokine storm, or limit inflammatory damage to the lungs. An example of a well-known drug of particular interest in a pandemic is azithromycin*. This macrolide antibiotic is characterized by a broad spectrum of activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial pathogens, as well as well-documented anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory effects [1].

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