Biological and societal impacts of combination antiviral therapy for SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern


  • Aneesa Khan UBC


The development of vaccines targeting SARS-CoV-2 has been heavily studied since the start of COVID-19 and its declaration by WHO as a pandemic in March of 2020. However, with the emerging variants of concern (VoCs), such as Omicron and Delta, research into antiviral therapy in addition to vaccines is essential to help combat current and future VoCs. Recent studies have shown that multidrug therapy combining a variety of antivirals targeting different aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 lifecycle could be more effective at suppressing the virus, and could potentially reduce the risk of developing viral resistance. However, with these benefits also come concerns surrounding the feasibility and safety of administering a combination of drugs. This article will discuss the current state of knowledge pertaining to combination antiviral therapy against SARS-CoV-2 to determine the benefits and disadvantages from a health and molecular biology perspective. Additionally, this article will be looking into the societal perceptions and ramifications of antivirals against SARS-CoV-2, and whether there is less hesitancy in taking antivirals as compared to getting vaccinated. With 2 million unvaccinated young children in Canada, as well as patients suffering with various immunological disorders, it is even more important to explore different options of protection against SARS-CoV-2 for those who are unable to get vaccinated. When designing these therapies, it will be essential to consider the social accessibility of the drug in addition to its biological effectiveness. In an increasingly globalized world, interdisciplinary work will be critical to having a more complete understanding of an area of research, particularly in the field of health and medicine. By exploring the two topics above, this article will aim to unite the social and biological perspectives on combination antiviral therapy in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.