The COVID-19 pandemic has created the need for antiviral therapeutics that can be swiftly moved into the clinic. It has led many researchers to search for a candidate through drug repurposing or screening clinically approved antivirals for efficacy against SARS-CoV-2. While traditional antivirals, like remdesivir, target viral enzymes that are often subject to mutation. Thus, to develop drug resistance, antivirals that target the cell host proteins required for viral replication could have benefits, such as avoiding the development of resistance.

Working in preclinical models, researchers report that plitidepsin, a drug with limited clinical approval for the treatment of multiple myeloma, is more potent against SARS-CoV-2 than remdesivir—an antiviral that received FDA emergency use authorization for the treatment of COVID-19 in 2020.