The scientists from the USA used the SARS-CoV-2 transcriptome signature set for a previously developed drug reposition pipeline. That approach proved to be effective as it was able to pinpoint potential candidates from the range of drugs for the treatment of the COVID-19. Despite the pandemic, the multi-month presence of the disease in different countries of the world and the constant search for the methods of its treatment, the scientists admit: to nowadays, there are no clinically proven approaches.
One approach that received an unexpected approval and is found to be effective is drug repositioning. It was investigated during the pandemic and the scientists concluded that high-throughput screening pipelines should be recognized as viable strategies for testing drug candidates because they are quickly identified.
The research is being conducted by the specialists from the Bakara Institute for Computer Health Sciences at the University of California. They applied their existing computational pipeline for the drug reduction to differential expression signatures of the SARS-CoV-2 gene derived from publicly available RNA sequencing data.
As a result, the data was obtained from various types of tissues. And it means that each type can undergo a therapeutic treatment, demonstrate an effect for each signature, and then combine all the results.
The researchers say they used three independent gene expression signatures in their new method. And each of them consisted of expressed genes between the SARS-CoV-2 samples and their respective controls. The scientists confirmed the validity by demonstrating the inhibitory effects of 16 of their drugs.
The drugs were able to significantly alter several manifestations of the SARS-CoV-2 in live antiviral assays. In twenty-five cases of general coincidences, 4 drugs were identified, they are bacampicillin, clofazimine, haloperidol, valproic acid, where there was a high coincidence in all three signatures.
Further experiments helped to identify 25 therapeutic candidates out of 102 drugs with high antiviral activity.