Repurposing Didanosine as a Potential Treatment for COVID-19 Using Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Data

mSystems. 2020 Apr 14;5(2):e00297-20. doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00297-20.


As of today (7 April 2020), more than 81,000 people around the world have died from the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic. There is no approved drug or vaccine for COVID-19, although more than 10 clinical trials have been launched to test potential drugs. In an urgent response to this pandemic, I developed a bioinformatics pipeline to identify compounds and drug candidates to potentially treat COVID-19. This pipeline is based on publicly available single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data and the drug perturbation database "Library of Integrated Network-Based Cellular Signatures" (LINCS). I developed a ranking score system that prioritizes these drugs or small molecules. The four drugs with the highest total score are didanosine, benzyl-quinazolin-4-yl-amine, camptothecin, and RO-90-7501. In conclusion, I have demonstrated the utility of bioinformatics for identifying drugs than can be repurposed for potentially treating COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; drug; repurposing.