Integrated Bioinformatics Analysis for the Screening of Associated Pathways and Therapeutic Drugs in Coronavirus Disease 2019

Arch Med Res. 2021 Apr;52(3):304-310. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2020.11.009. Epub 2020 Dec 4.


Background: COVID-19 caused by a novel coronavirus, a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has recently broken out worldwide. Up to now, the development of vaccine is still in the stage of clinical research, and there is no clinically approved specific antiviral drug for human coronavirus infection. The purpose of this study is to investigate the key molecules involved in response during SARS-CoV-2 infection and provide references for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2.

Methods: We conducted in-depth and comprehensive bioinformatics analysis of human proteins identified with SARS-CoV-2, including functional enrichment analysis, protein interaction network analysis, screening of hub genes, and evaluation of their potential as therapeutic targets. In addition, we used the gene-drug database to search for inhibitors of related biological targets.

Results: Several significant pathways, such as PKA, centrosome and transcriptional regulation, may greatly contribute to the development and progression of COVID-2019 disease. Taken together 15 drugs and 18 herb ingredients were screened as potential drugs for viral treatment. Specially, the trans-resveratrol can significantly reduce the expression of N protein of MERS-CoV and inhibit MERS-CoV. In addition, trans-resveratrol, Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and BX795 all show good anti multiple virus effects.

Conclusion: Some drugs selected through our methods have been proven to have antiviral effects in previous studies. We aim to use global bioinformatics analysis to provide insights to assist in the design of new drugs and provide new choices for clinical treatment.

Keywords: 2019-nCoV coronavirus; Bioinformatics; Drug; Integrated analysis; Mechanism; SARS-CoV-2.