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Open AccessReview

The Potential Role of Lithium as an Antiviral Agent against SARS-CoV-2 via Membrane Depolarization: Review and Hypothesis

1
Department of Internship Program, Jordan University Hospital, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan
2
Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Alabdali Clemenceau Medical Center, Amman 11190, Jordan
3
Faculty of Medicine, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, Jordan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sci. Pharm. 2021, 89(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/scipharm89010011
Received: 28 December 2020 / Revised: 8 February 2021 / Accepted: 8 February 2021 / Published: 15 February 2021
Studies on potential treatments of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are important to improve the global situation in the face of the pandemic. This review proposes lithium as a potential drug to treat COVID-19. Our hypothesis states that lithium can suppress NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain containing-3 (NLRP3) inflammasome activity, inhibit cell death, and exhibit immunomodulation via membrane depolarization. Our hypothesis was formulated after finding consistent correlations between these actions and membrane depolarization induced by lithium. Eventually, lithium could serve to mitigate the NLRP3-mediated cytokine storm, which is allegedly reported to be the inciting event of a series of retrogressive events associated with mortality from COVID-19. It could also inhibit cell death and modulate the immune system to attenuate its release, clear the virus from the body, and interrupt the cycle of immune-system dysregulation. Therefore, these effects are presumed to improve the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 patients. As the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise exponentially without a clear consensus on potential therapeutic agents, urgent conduction of preclinical and clinical studies to prove the efficacy and safety of lithium is reasonable.
Keywords: lithium; membrane depolarization; membrane potential; cell death; NLRP3; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; cytokine storm lithium; membrane depolarization; membrane potential; cell death; NLRP3; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; cytokine storm
MDPI and ACS Style

Qaswal, A.B.; Suleiman, A.; Guzu, H.; Harb, T.; Atiyat, B. The Potential Role of Lithium as an Antiviral Agent against SARS-CoV-2 via Membrane Depolarization: Review and Hypothesis. Sci. Pharm. 2021, 89, 11. https://doi.org/10.3390/scipharm89010011

AMA Style

Qaswal AB, Suleiman A, Guzu H, Harb T, Atiyat B. The Potential Role of Lithium as an Antiviral Agent against SARS-CoV-2 via Membrane Depolarization: Review and Hypothesis. Scientia Pharmaceutica. 2021; 89(1):11. https://doi.org/10.3390/scipharm89010011

Chicago/Turabian Style

Qaswal, Abdallah B.; Suleiman, Aiman; Guzu, Hasan; Harb, Taima’a; Atiyat, Bashir. 2021. "The Potential Role of Lithium as an Antiviral Agent against SARS-CoV-2 via Membrane Depolarization: Review and Hypothesis" Sci. Pharm. 89, no. 1: 11. https://doi.org/10.3390/scipharm89010011

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