The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted global healthcare and economic systems throughout 2020 with no clear end in sight. While the pandemic continues to have deleterious effects across the globe, mechanisms for disrupting disease transmission have relied on behavioral controls (e.g., social distancing, masks, and hygiene) as there are currently no vaccines approved for use and limited therapeutic options. As this pandemic has demonstrated our vulnerability to newly emerging viruses, there has been strong interest in utilizing proteomics approaches to identify targets for repurposed drugs as novel therapeutic candidates that could be fast-tracked for human use. Building on a previous discussion on the combination of proteomics technologies with clinical data for combating emerging viruses, we discuss how these technologies are being employed for COVID-19 and the current state of knowledge regarding repurposed drugs in these efforts.
Silmitasertib(Casein kinase 2, CK2A1/2 inhibitor), which blocks CK2 signaling associated with the p38 pathway (responsible for responding to stress, infection, pro-inflammatory cytokine stimulation, cell growth, and DNA damage repair), has also shown promise for the treatment of COVID-19.61 Silmitasertib is currently being assessed in several phase I and II clinical trials to treat various cancers.61 A COVID-19 patient was recently treated with silmitasertib after treatment with remdesivir, dexamethasone, ceftriaxone, azithromycin, and enoxaparin failed to improve hypoxia of the patient. Following treatment with silmitasertib, there was significant anecdotal improvement described, including weaning of supplemental oxygen and discharge after 5 days.66 There are also two upcoming phase II clinical trials to more empirically test the efficacy of silmitasertib in COVID-19.6