利用人工智慧演算法，Stebbing團隊篩選出三種抗發炎藥物 (baricitinib、fedratinib and ruxolitinib)，為治療COVID-19病毒感染的可能藥物。另外，研究結果顯示baricitinib此抗發炎藥物合併抗病毒藥物治療，可降低病毒的感染能力、 複製能力及宿主異常發炎反應，研究結果也支持運用人工智慧演算法可加速藥物的開發。
Both coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are characterised by an overexuberant inflammatory response and, for SARS, viral load is not correlated with the worsening of symptoms.1, 2 In our previous Correspondence to The Lancet,3 we described how BenevolentAI’s proprietary artificial intelligence (AI)-derived knowledge graph,4 queried by a suite of algorithms, enabled identification of a target and a potential therapeutic against SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; the causative organism in COVID-19). We identified a group of approved drugs that could inhibit clathrin-mediated endocytosis and thereby inhibit viral infection of cells (appendix). The drug targets are members of the numb-associated kinase (NAK) family—including AAK1 and GAK—the inhibition of which has been shown to reduce viral infection in vitro.5, 6 Baricitinib was identified as a NAK inhibitor, with a particularly high affinity for AAK1, a pivotal regulator of clathrin-mediated endocytosis. We suggested that this drug could be of use in countering SARS-CoV-2 infections, subject to appropriate clinical testing.
To take this work further in a short timescale, a necessity when dealing with a new human pathogen, we re-examined the affinity and selectivity of all the approved drugs in our knowledge graph to identify those with both antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Such drugs are predicted to be of particular importance in the treatment of severe cases of COVID-19, when the host inflammatory response becomes a major cause of lung damage and subsequent mortality. Comparison of the properties of the three best candidates are shown in the table. Baricitinib, fedratinib, and ruxolitinib are potent and selective JAK inhibitors approved for indications such as rheumatoid arthritis and myelofibrosis. All three are powerful anti-inflammatories that, as JAK–STAT signalling inhibitors, are likely to be effective against the consequences of the elevated levels of cytokines (including interferon-γ) typically observed in people with COVID-19·2 Although the three candidates have similar JAK inhibitor potencies, a high affinity for AAK1 suggests baricitinib is the best of the group, especially given its once-daily oral dosing and acceptable side-effect profile.7 The most significant side-effect seen over 4214 patient-years in the clinical trial programmes used for European Medicines Agency registration was a small increase in upper respiratory tract infections (similar to that observed with methotrexate), but the incidence of serious infections (eg, herpes zoster) over 52 weeks’ dosing was small (3·2 per 100 patient-years), and similar to placebo.7 Use of this agent in patients with COVID-19 over 7–14 days, for example, suggests side-effects would be trivial.
Author：Justin Stebbing, Anne Phelan, Ivan Griffin, et al.