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1.
EClinicalMedicine ; 49: 101493, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1944826
2.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(6)2022 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911696

ABSTRACT

During the current pandemic, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients experienced mild symptoms, but some had a potentially fatal aberrant hyperinflammatory immune reaction characterized by high levels of IL-6 and other cytokines. Modulation of this immune reaction has proven to be the only method of reducing mortality in severe and critical COVID-19. The anti-inflammatory drug baricitinib (Olumiant) has recently been strongly recommended by the WHO for use in COVID-19 patients because it reduces the risk of progressive disease and death. It is a Janus Kinase (JAK) 1/2 inhibitor approved for rheumatoid arthritis which was suggested in early 2020 as a treatment for COVID-19. In this review the AI-assisted identification of baricitinib, its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, and efficacy in clinical trials are discussed and compared with those of other immune modulators including glucocorticoids, IL-6 and IL-1 receptor blockers and other JAK inhibitors. Baricitinib inhibits both virus infection and cytokine signalling and is not only important for COVID-19 management but is "non-immunological", and so should remain effective if new SARS-CoV-2 variants escape immune control. The repurposing of baricitinib is an example of how advanced artificial intelligence (AI) can quickly identify new drug candidates that have clinical benefit in previously unsuspected therapeutic areas.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322046

ABSTRACT

Baricitinib, is an oral Janus kinase (JAK)1/JAK2 inhibitor approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that was independently hypothesized, using artificial intelligence (AI)-algorithms, to be useful for the treatment of COVID-19 infection via a proposed anti-cytokine effects and as an inhibitor of host cell viral propagation 1,2 . We validated the AI-predicted biochemical inhibitory effects of baricitinib on human numb-associated kinase (hNAK) members measuring nanomolar affinities for AAK1, BIKE, and GAK. Inhibition of NAKs led to reduced viral infectivity with baricitinib using human primary liver spheroids, which express hAAK1 and hGAK. We evaluated the in vitro pharmacology of baricitinib across relevant leukocyte subpopulations coupled to its in vivo pharmacokinetics and showed it inhibited signaling of cytokines implicated in COVID-19 infection. In a case series of patients with bilateral COVID-19 pneumonia, baricitinib treatment was associated with clinical and radiologic recovery, a rapid decline in SARS-CoV-2 viral load, inflammatory markers, and IL-6 levels. This represents an important example of an AI-predicted treatment showing scientific and clinical promise during a global health crisis. Collectively, these data support further evaluation of the AI-derived hypothesis on anti-cytokine and anti-viral activity and supports its assessment in randomized trials in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

4.
Sci Adv ; 7(1)2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388432

ABSTRACT

Using AI, we identified baricitinib as having antiviral and anticytokine efficacy. We now show a 71% (95% CI 0.15 to 0.58) mortality benefit in 83 patients with moderate-severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia with few drug-induced adverse events, including a large elderly cohort (median age, 81 years). An additional 48 cases with mild-moderate pneumonia recovered uneventfully. Using organotypic 3D cultures of primary human liver cells, we demonstrate that interferon-α2 increases ACE2 expression and SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in parenchymal cells by greater than fivefold. RNA-seq reveals gene response signatures associated with platelet activation, fully inhibited by baricitinib. Using viral load quantifications and superresolution microscopy, we found that baricitinib exerts activity rapidly through the inhibition of host proteins (numb-associated kinases), uniquely among antivirals. This reveals mechanistic actions of a Janus kinase-1/2 inhibitor targeting viral entry, replication, and the cytokine storm and is associated with beneficial outcomes including in severely ill elderly patients, data that incentivize further randomized controlled trials.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Azetidines/pharmacology , COVID-19/mortality , Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Janus Kinases/antagonists & inhibitors , Liver/virology , Purines/pharmacology , Pyrazoles/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Cytokines/metabolism , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Female , Gene Expression Profiling , Humans , Interferon alpha-2/metabolism , Italy , Janus Kinases/metabolism , Liver/drug effects , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Safety , Platelet Activation , Proportional Hazards Models , RNA-Seq , Spain , Virus Internalization/drug effects
5.
Front Pharmacol ; 12: 709856, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1359216

ABSTRACT

The onset of the 2019 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic necessitated the identification of approved drugs to treat the disease, before the development, approval and widespread administration of suitable vaccines. To identify such a drug, we used a visual analytics workflow where computational tools applied over an AI-enhanced biomedical knowledge graph were combined with human expertise. The workflow comprised rapid augmentation of knowledge graph information from recent literature using machine learning (ML) based extraction, with human-guided iterative queries of the graph. Using this workflow, we identified the rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib as both an antiviral and anti-inflammatory therapy. The effectiveness of baricitinib was substantiated by the recent publication of the data from the ACTT-2 randomised Phase 3 trial, followed by emergency approval for use by the FDA, and a report from the CoV-BARRIER trial confirming significant reductions in mortality with baricitinib compared to standard of care. Such methods that iteratively combine computational tools with human expertise hold promise for the identification of treatments for rare and neglected diseases and, beyond drug repurposing, in areas of biological research where relevant data may be lacking or hidden in the mass of available biomedical literature.

6.
8.
EMBO Mol Med ; 12(8): e12697, 2020 08 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-434202

ABSTRACT

Baricitinib is an oral Janus kinase (JAK)1/JAK2 inhibitor approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that was independently predicted, using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, to be useful for COVID-19 infection via proposed anti-cytokine effects and as an inhibitor of host cell viral propagation. We evaluated the in vitro pharmacology of baricitinib across relevant leukocyte subpopulations coupled to its in vivo pharmacokinetics and showed it inhibited signaling of cytokines implicated in COVID-19 infection. We validated the AI-predicted biochemical inhibitory effects of baricitinib on human numb-associated kinase (hNAK) members measuring nanomolar affinities for AAK1, BIKE, and GAK. Inhibition of NAKs led to reduced viral infectivity with baricitinib using human primary liver spheroids. These effects occurred at exposure levels seen clinically. In a case series of patients with bilateral COVID-19 pneumonia, baricitinib treatment was associated with clinical and radiologic recovery, a rapid decline in SARS-CoV-2 viral load, inflammatory markers, and IL-6 levels. Collectively, these data support further evaluation of the anti-cytokine and anti-viral activity of baricitinib and support its assessment in randomized trials in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Artificial Intelligence , Azetidines/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Adult , Aged , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Azetidines/pharmacokinetics , Azetidines/therapeutic use , COVID-19 , Cytokines/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Drug Repositioning , Female , Humans , Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Leukocytes/drug effects , Liver , Male , Middle Aged , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacokinetics , Protein Kinase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Purines , Pyrazoles , SARS-CoV-2 , Spheroids, Cellular/drug effects , Spheroids, Cellular/virology , Sulfonamides/pharmacokinetics , Sulfonamides/therapeutic use
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