Clinically approved PARP inhibitors (PARPi) have a mild adverse effect profile and are well tolerated as continuous daily oral therapy. We review the evidence that justifies the repurposing of PARPi to block the proliferation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and combat the life-threatening sequelae of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by several mechanisms. PARPi can effectively decrease IL-6, IL-1 and TNF-α levels (key interleukins in SARS-CoV-2-induced cytokine storm) and can alleviate subsequent lung fibrosis, as demonstrated in murine experiments and clinical trials. PARPi can tune macrophages towards a tolerogenic phenotype. PARPi may also counteract SARS-CoV-2-induced and inflammation-induced cell death and support cell survival. PARPi is effective in animal models of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), asthma and ventilator-induced lung injury. PARPi may potentiate the effectiveness of tocilizumab, anakinra, sarilumab, adalimumab, canakinumab or siltuximab therapy. The evidence suggests that PARPi would benefit COVID-19 patients and trials should be undertaken.
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