Tilorone: a Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Invented in the USA and Commercialized in Russia and beyond
Ekins, Sean, et al.
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For the last 50 years we have known of a broad-spectrum agent tilorone dihydrochloride (Tilorone). This is a small-molecule orally bioavailable drug that was originally discovered in the USA and is currently used clinically as an antiviral in Russia and the Ukraine. Over the years there have been numerous clinical and non-clinical reports of its broad spectrum of antiviral activity. More recently we have identified additional promising antiviral activities against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Chikungunya, Ebola and Marburg which highlights that this old drug may have other uses against new viruses. This may in turn inform the types of drugs that we need for virus outbreaks such as for the new coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Tilorone has been long neglected by the west in many respects but it deserves further reassessment in light of current and future needs for broad-spectrum antivirals.