Mining of high throughput screening database reveals AP-1 and autophagy pathways as potential targets for COVID-19 therapeutics.

Scientific Reports
Hu ZhuRuili Huang


The recent global pandemic of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 presents an urgent need for the development of new therapeutic candidates. Many efforts have been devoted to screening existing drug libraries with the hope to repurpose approved drugs as potential treatments for COVID-19. However, the antiviral mechanisms of action of the drugs found active in these phenotypic screens remain largely unknown. In an effort to deconvolute the viral targets in pursuit of more effective anti-COVID-19 drug development, we mined our in-house database of approved drug screens against 994 assays and compared their activity profiles with the drug activity profile in a cytopathic effect (CPE) assay of SARS-CoV-2. We found that the autophagy and AP-1 signaling pathway activity profiles are significantly correlated with the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity profile. In addition, a class of neurology/psychiatry drugs was found to be significantly enriched with anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. Taken together, these results provide new insights into SARS-CoV-2 infection and potential targets for COVID-19 therapeutics, which can be further validated by in vivo animal studies and human clinical trials.


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