AI Can Find Existing Drugs that Kills SARS-Cov-2 In Cells
AI finds existing drugs more than 1,400 FDA-approved drugs and compounds were screened on infected cells. These cells had more than a thousand connections with the virus and 17 potential drug hits emerged from these tests.
In a new study published in the journal Cell, scientists have used AI to identify several existing drugs that may help inhibit or reduce SARS-CoV-2 cells. Researchers were able to identify 17 potential treatments that could cure the virus. Twenty-nine of those hits were new, with 18 identified in previous drug repurposing studies. Seven are currently FDA approved for COVID-19 treatments in the hospitalized patient.
Modern drug development processes take at least a decade before drugs go to market. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time for the process. Thankfully, researchers have identified new therapies that are ready for phase 2 clinical trials because their safety has already been established. Compounds in the study had anti-viral activity. 9 showed it at doses that could be studied for potential use as medications. “Thus, lactoferrin may be an efficacious therapeutic against SARS-CoV2 disease,” Sexton said. Early data suggests the drug is effective at reducing viral loads and inflammation in patients with CA-SARS-COV2 infection, the researchers stated.
Soon the team will launch clinical trials on lactoferrin, the trial is adding to the list of ongoing studies into promising repurposed drugs, according to the researchers. Based on research over the course of the pandemic, other drug repurposing studies have indicated potential efficacy against SARS-CoV2. “The results seem to be dependent on what cell system is used,” said Sexton. “But there is an emerging consensus around a subset of drugs and those are the ones that have the highest priority for clinical translation. We fully expect that some of these won’t work in human beings,”.
He also notes that the next step would be to use electronic health records in order to determine whether patients on these drugs had worse COVID-19 outcomes.