The hmox1 pathway as a promising target for the treatment and prevention of sars-cov-2 of 2019 (Covid-19)

Neelu Batra, Cristabelle De Souza, Jyoti Batra, Alan G. Raetz, Ai Ming Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is a global pandemic with increasing incidence and mortality rates. Recent evidence based on the cytokine profiles of severe COVID-19 cases suggests an overstimulation of macrophages and monocytes associated with reduced T-cell abundance (lymphopenia) in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. The SARS-CoV-2 open reading frame 3 a (ORF3a) protein was found to bind to the human HMOX1 protein at a high confidence through high-throughput screening experiments. The HMOX1 pathway can inhibit platelet aggregation, and can have anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties, amongst others, all of which are critical medical conditions observed in COVID-19 patients. Here, we review the potential of modulating the HMOX1-ORF3a nexus to regulate the innate immune response for therapeutic benefits in COVID-19 patients. We also review other potential treatment strategies and suggest novel synthetic and natural compounds that may have the potential for future development in clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6412
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Anti-viral therapy
  • HMOX1
  • HMOX1-ORF3a
  • Natural compounds
  • ORF3a
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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