Published online Dec 15, 2020. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v9.i5.67
Peer-review started: October 13, 2020
First decision: November 18, 2020
Revised: November 19, 2020
Accepted: December 2, 2020
Article in press: December 2, 2020
Published online: December 15, 2020
Thymosin alpha 1 is a peptide naturally occurring in the thymus that has long been recognized for modifying, enhancing, and restoring immune function. Thymosin alpha 1 has been utilized in the treatment of immunocompromised states and malignancies, as an enhancer of vaccine response, and as a means of curbing morbidity and mortality in sepsis and numerous infections. Studies have postulated that thymosin alpha 1 could help improve the outcome in severely ill corona virus disease 2019 patients by repairing damage caused by overactivation of lymphocytic immunity and how thymosin alpha 1 could prevent the excessive activation of T cells. In this review, we discuss key literature on the background knowledge and current clinical uses of thymosin alpha 1. Considering the known biochemical properties including antibacterial and antiviral properties, time-honored applications, and the new promising findings regarding the use of thymosin, we believe that thymosin alpha 1 deserves further investigation into its antiviral properties and possible repurposing as a treatment against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2.
Core Tip: Thymosin alpha 1 is a naturally occurring peptide in the human thymus, which has long been recognized for its immune-modulating properties. The synthetic analog of thymosin alpha 1 has various clinical applications, such as in infectious diseases, malignancies and in immunocompromised states. There is emerging data postulating that this peptide could be of benefit in the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection. We herein discuss the underlying knowledge, current clinical uses and results of recent studies of thymosin alpha 1.