COVID-19 Resource Center
COVID-19 Resource Center
March 26, 2020
1 min read

Researchers examine 69 existing drugs for efficacy against COVID-19

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A team of researchers from around the world have identified 69 different drugs and compounds, including FDA-approved agents, compounds in clinical trials and preclinical compounds, that they are examining for potential effectiveness in SARS-CoV-2 infection assays.

“So far, no clinically available antiviral drugs have been developed for SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV,” David E. Gordon, PhD, associate researcher of cellular molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “Clinical trials are ongoing for treatment of COVID-19 with the nucleotide analog RNA-dependent RNA polymerase inhibitor remdesivir. ... Recent data suggest a new nucleotide analog may be effective against SARS-CoV-2 infection in laboratory animals.”

They added: “We believe there is great potential in systematically exploring the host dependencies of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to identify other host proteins already targeted with existing drugs. Therapies targeting the host-virus interface, where mutational resistance is arguably less likely, could potentially present durable, broad-spectrum treatment modalities.”

According to the study, Gordon and colleagues cloned, tagged and expressed 26 of the 29 viral proteins in human cells and identified the human proteins physically associated with each using affinity purification mass spectrometry. This process identified 332 high-confidence SARS-CoV-2-human protein-protein interactions.

From these, Gordon and colleagues were able to identify 67 druggable human proteins or host factors targeted by 69 existing FDA-approved drugs, drugs in clinical trials and/or preclinical compounds. The researchers are now evaluating these agents for efficacy in live SARS-CoV-2 infection assays.

“The identification of host dependency factors mediating virus infection may provide key insights into effective molecular targets for developing broadly acting antiviral therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 and other deadly coronavirus strains,” the authors concluded. – by Caitlyn Stulpin

Disclosures: Gordon reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.