Gero, the leader in AI-driven drug discovery, has used its AI platform to identify the potential anti-COVID-19 agents that have been previously tested on humans. Six of them have been approved, three were withdrawn, and the other nine have been already tested in clinical trials. The emergency of the situation, as well as the legal and regulatory status of these agents, make it possible to start immediate clinical trials for most of the suggested drugs.
The company used its AI drug discovery platform to identify molecules with potential effects on the coronavirus replication. The fact that this time the potential treatments were found among the existing drugs marks a significant improvement over previous efforts to use AI to predict molecules active against COVID-19. The discovery makes it possible to start clinical trials in a matter of weeks.
Some of the drugs have been well known for decades and approved in many countries for human or veterinary use, some of them even have confirmed effects against SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, while others have not been known previously for any related effects.
The drugs found to be potentially effective include:
Niclosamide – an oral anthelmintic drug used to treat parasitic infections in millions of people worldwide. Niclosamide has been approved in Italy, the United States (now withdrawn), France, and some other countries.
Nitazoxanide – a broad-spectrum antiparasitic prescription drug, that is used in medicine for the treatment of various helminthic, protozoal, and viral infections. Approved in the U.S., India, Mexico and some other countries.
Niclosamide and Nitazoxanide have been recently recommended to be tried as COVID-19 treatment in patients.
Afatinib – a prescription medicine approved in the U.S. for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), along with 28 countries within the EU, China, and some other countries.
Ixazomib – a prescription medicine used in combination with the medicines REVLIMID® (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone to treat multiple myeloma in patients who have received at least one prior treatment for their multiple myeloma. Approved in the U.S., EU and some other countries.
Reserpine was originally isolated from the flower Rauwolfia serpentina in 1952. It was once used as a treatment for high blood pressure and psychotic episodes. It has been approved in Italy, Germany, France and some other countries.
The list of potential anti-COVID-19 drugs also includes several senolytics. Senolytics (molecules that “kill” the so-called senescent or damaged cells) are attracting the growing interest from the academic world and the biotech industry for their potential against a range of age-related diseases and ageing itself.
Although some of the drugs with anti-coronavirus potential have been approved for use on humans for other medical indications and are immediately available to the public, Gero strongly urges against self-treatment and reaffirms the necessity of acting in line with the national regulations, including the rules for off-label use of available drugs.