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Drug repurposing is an appealing method to address the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic because of the low cost and efficiency. We analyzed our in-house database of approved drug screens and compared their activity profiles with results from a severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cytopathic effect (CPE) assay. The activity profiles of the human ether-à-go-go-related gene (hERG), phospholipidosis (PLD), and many cytotoxicity screens were found significantly correlated with anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. hERG inhibition is a nonspecific off-target effect that has contributed to promiscuous drug interactions, whereas drug-induced PLD is an undesirable effect linked to hERG blockers. Thus, this study identifies preferred drug candidates as well as chemical structures that should be avoided because of their potential to induce toxicity. Lastly, we highlight the hERG liability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs currently enrolled in clinical trials. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Deborah K Ngan, Tuan Xu, Menghang Xia, Wei Zheng, Ruili Huang. Repurposing drugs as COVID-19 therapies: A toxicity evaluation. Drug discovery today. 2022 Jul;27(7):1983-1993

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PMID: 35395401

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