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What makes (hydroxy)chloroquine ineffective against COVID-19: insights from cell biology
Dania Altulea1 , Sjors Maassen1 , Maksim V. Baranov1 , G. van den Bogaart1,2,*
1Department of Molecular Immunology and Microbiology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
2Department of Tumor Immunology, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
*Correspondence to:G. van den Bogaart ,
J Mol Cell Biol, Volume 13, Issue 3, March 2021, 175-184,
Keyword: coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine

Since chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can inhibit the invasion and proliferation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in cultured cells, the repurposing of these antimalarial drugs was considered a promising strategy for treatment and prevention of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, despite promising preliminary findings, many clinical trials showed neither significant therapeutic nor prophylactic benefits of CQ and HCQ against COVID-19. Here, we aim to answer the question of why these drugs are not effective against the disease by examining the cellular working mechanisms of CQ and HCQ in prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infections.