The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the strong and urgent need of finding new effective drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Despite the intense efforts made by the international scientific community in the course of the last two years and some initial success, this issue remains absolutely open. Metal-based agents form a class of substances possessing a large variety of chemical structures and reactivities that may result in innovative and unprecedented modes of action. This class of substances merits to be explored in the search of effective antiviral agents. In this short review, we offer some examples of the possible role of metal-based drugs as prospective anti-COVID-19 agents. Particular attention is paid to a few established gold and bismuth compounds that looked very promising in some preliminary tests of antiviral efficacy. In addition, we illustrate a systematic strategy proposed very recently by Ott et al. for the rational discovery of promising antiviral drug candidates within relatively large libraries of metal compounds. Notably, implementation of this strategy has already resulted in the identification of a few metal compounds endowed with interesting features suitable for further pharmacologic development. Overall, we aim to underscore the valuable role that medicinal inorganic chemistry may play in the search and discovery of new anti-COVID-19 drugs.
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