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Predicting novel drugs for SARS-CoV-2 using machine learning from a >10 million chemical space


There is an urgent need for the identification of effective therapeutics for COVID-19 and we have developed a machine learning drug discovery pipeline to identify several drug candidates. First, we collect assay data for 65 target human proteins known to interact with the SARS-CoV-2 proteins, including the ACE2 receptor. Next, we train machine learning models to predict inhibitory activity and use them to screen FDA registered chemicals and approved drugs (~100,000) and ~14 million purchasable chemicals. We filter predictions according to estimated mammalian toxicity and vapor pressure. Prospective volatile candidates are proposed as novel inhaled therapeutics since the nasal cavity and respiratory tracts are early bottlenecks for infection. We also identify candidates that act across multiple targets as promising for future analyses. We anticipate that this theoretical study can accelerate testing of two categories of therapeutics: repurposed drugs suited for short-term approval, and novel efficacious drugs suitable for a long-term follow up.

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