Biomolecules & Therapeutics
Antiviral Efficacy of Pralatrexate against SARS-CoV-2
Joon-Yong Bae1,†, Gee Eun Lee1,†, Heedo Park1, Juyoung Cho1, Jeonghun Kim1, Jungmin Lee1, Kisoon Kim1, Jin Il Kim1,2,* and Man-Seong Park1,2,*
1Department of Microbiology, Institute for Viral Diseases, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul 02841,
2Biosafety Center, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea
*E-mail: (Park MS), (Kim JI)
Tel: +82-2-2286-1312 (Park MS), +82-2-2286-1313 (Kim JI)
Fax: +82-2-923-3645 (Park MS), +82-2-923-3645 (Kim JI)
The first two authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: February 8, 2021; Revised: February 26, 2021; Accepted: March 1, 2021; Published online: March 17, 2021.
© The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has caused more than 100 million confirmed cases of human infectious disease (COVID-19) since December 2019 to paralyze our global community. However, only limited access has been allowed to COVID-19 vaccines and antiviral treatment options. Here, we report the efficacy of the anticancer drug pralatrexate against SARS-CoV-2. In Vero and human lung epithelial Calu-3 cells, pralatrexate reduced viral RNA copies of SARS-CoV-2 without detectable cytotoxicity, and viral replication was successfully inhibited in a dose-dependent manner. In a time-to-addition assay, pralatrexate treatment at almost half a day after infection also exhibited inhibitory effects on the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in Calu-3 cells. Taken together, these results suggest the potential of pralatrexate as a drug repurposing COVID-19 remedy.
Keywords: Antiviral, COVID-19, Drug repurposing, SARS-CoV-2

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