Network medicine framework for identifying drug-repurposing opportunities for COVID-19

Published in PNAS, 2021

Recommended citation: Morselli Gysi, D., do Valle, Í., Zitnik, M., Ameli, A., Gan, X., Varol, O., Ghiassian, S.D., Patten, J.J., Davey, R.A., Loscalzo, J., Barabási, A.-L. (2021). Network medicine framework for identifying drug-repurposing opportunities for COVID-19. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(19), e2025581118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2025581118 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2025581118

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of prioritizing approved drugs to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. Here, we deployed algorithms relying on artificial intelligence, network diffusion, and network proximity to rank 6,340 drugs for their expected efficacy against SARS-CoV-2. We experimentally screened 918 drugs, allowing us to evaluate the performance of the existing drug-repurposing methodologies, and used a consensus algorithm to increase the accuracy of the predictions. Finally, we screened in human cells the top-ranked drugs, identifying six drugs that reduced viral infection, four of which could be repurposed to treat COVID-19. The developed strategy has significance beyond COVID-19, allowing us to identify drug-repurposing candidates for neglected diseases.