Discovery of the FDA-approved drugs bexarotene, cetilistat, diiodohydroxyquinoline, and abiraterone as potential COVID-19 treatments with a robust two-tier screening system.

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Discovery of the FDA-approved drugs bexarotene, cetilistat, diiodohydroxyquinoline, and abiraterone as potential COVID-19 treatments with a robust two-tier screening system.

Pharmacol Res. 2020 May 27;:104960

Authors: Yuan S, Chan JFW, Chik KKH, Chan CCY, Tsang JOL, Liang R, Cao J, Tang K, Chen LL, Wen K, Cai JP, Ye ZW, Lu G, Chu H, Jin DY, Yuen KY

Abstract
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with a crude case fatality rate of about 0.5-10% depending on locality. A few clinically approved drugs, such as remdesivir, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, nafamostat, camostat, and ivermectin, exhibited anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in vitro and/or in a small number of patients. However, their clinical use may be limited by anti-SARS-CoV-2 50% maximal effective concentrations (EC50) that exceeded their achievable peak serum concentrations (Cmax), side effects, and/or availability. To find more immediately available COVID-19 antivirals, we established a two-tier drug screening system that combines SARS-CoV-2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and cell viability assay, and applied it to screen a library consisting 1528 FDA-approved drugs. Cetilistat (anti-pancreatic lipase), diiodohydroxyquinoline (anti-parasitic), abiraterone acetate (synthetic androstane steroid), and bexarotene (antineoplastic retinoid) exhibited potent in vitro anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity (EC50 1.13-2.01µM). Bexarotene demonstrated the highest Cmax:EC50 ratio (1.69) which was higher than those of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin. These results demonstrated the efficacy of the two-tier screening system and identified potential COVID-19 treatments which can achieve effective levels if given by inhalation or systemically depending on their pharmacokinetics.

PMID: 32473310 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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