Nafamostat Mesylate for Treatment of COVID-19 in Hospitalised Patients: A Structured, Narrative Review

María Patricia Hernández-Mitre, Steven Y.C. Tong, Justin T. Denholm, Gregory J. Dore, Asha C. Bowen, Sharon R. Lewin, Balasubramanian Venkatesh, Thomas E. Hills, Zoe McQuilten, David L. Paterson, Susan C. Morpeth, Jason A. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The search for clinically effective antivirals against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is ongoing. Repurposing of drugs licensed for non–coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) indications has been extensively investigated in laboratory models and in clinical studies with mixed results. Nafamostat mesylate (nafamostat) is a drug licensed in Japan and Korea for indications including acute pancreatitis and disseminated intravascular coagulation. It is available only for continuous intravenous infusion. In vitro human lung cell line studies with nafamostat demonstrate high antiviral potency against SARS-CoV-2 (half maximal inhibitory concentration [IC50] of 0.0022 µM [compared to remdesivir 1.3 µM]), ostensibly via inhibition of the cellular enzyme transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) preventing viral entry into human cells. In addition, the established antithrombotic activity is hypothesised to be advantageous given thrombosis-associated sequelae of COVID-19. Clinical reports to date are limited, but indicate a potential benefit of nafamostat in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19. In this review, we will explore the pre-clinical, pharmacokinetic and clinical outcome data presently available for nafamostat as a treatment for COVID-19. The recruitment to ongoing clinical trials is a priority to provide more robust data on the safety and efficacy of nafamostat as a treatment for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1331-1343
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Pharmacokinetics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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