Viral epidemics and pandemics are considered public health emergencies. However, traditional and novel antiviral discovery approaches are unable to mitigate them in a timely manner. Notably, drug repurposing emerged as an alternative strategy to provide antiviral solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner. In the literature, many FDA-approved drugs have been repurposed to inhibit viruses, while a few among them have also entered clinical trials. Using experimental data, we identified repurposed drugs against 14 viruses responsible for causing epidemics and pandemics such as SARS-CoV-2, SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, influenza H1N1, Ebola, Zika, Nipah, chikungunya, and others. We developed a novel computational “drug-target-drug” approach that uses the drug-targets extracted for specific drugs, which are experimentally validated in vitro or in vivo for antiviral activity. Furthermore, these extracted drug-targets were used to fetch the novel FDA-approved drugs for each virus and prioritize them by calculating their confidence scores. Pathway analysis showed that the majority of the extracted targets are involved in cancer and signaling pathways. For SARS-CoV-2, our method identified 21 potential repurposed drugs, of which 7 (e.g., baricitinib, ramipril, chlorpromazine, enalaprilat, etc.) have already entered clinical trials. The prioritized drug candidates were further validated using a molecular docking approach. Therefore, we anticipate success during the experimental validation of our predicted FDA-approved repurposed drugs against 14 viruses. This study will assist the scientific community in hastening research aimed at the development of antiviral therapeutics.
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