Strategies to identify candidate repurposable drugs: COVID-19 treatment as a case example


Drug repurposing is an invaluable strategy to identify new uses for existing drug therapies that overcome many of the time and financial costs associated with novel drug development. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven an unprecedented surge in the development and use of bioinformatic tools to identify candidate repurposable drugs. Using COVID-19 as a case study, we discuss examples of machine-learning and signature-based approaches that have been adapted to rapidly identify candidate drugs. The Library of Integrated Network-based Signatures (LINCS) and Connectivity Map (CMap) are commonly used repositories and have the advantage of being amenable to use by scientists with limited bioinformatic training. Next, we discuss how these recent advances in bioinformatic drug repurposing approaches might be adapted to identify repurposable drugs for CNS disorders. As the development of novel therapies that successfully target the cause of neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders has stalled, there is a pressing need for innovative strategies to treat these complex brain disorders. Bioinformatic approaches to identify repurposable drugs provide an exciting avenue of research that offer promise for improved treatments for CNS disorders.