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Genetically informed precision drug repurposing for lung function and implications for respiratory infection

By William R Reay, Sahar El Shair, Michael P Geaghan, Carlos Riveros, Elizabeth G Holiday, Mark A McEvoy, Stephen Hancock, Roseanne Peel, Rodney J. Scott, John R. Attia, Murray J Cairns

Posted 26 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.25.20139816

Impaired lung function is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Restrictive and obstructive lung disorders are a large contributor to decreased lung function, as well as the acute impact of infection. Measures of pulmonary function are heritable, and thus, we sought to utilise genomics to propose novel drug repurposing candidates which could improve respiratory outcomes. Lung function measures were found to be genetically correlated with metabolic and hormone traits which could be pharmacologically modulated, with a causal effect of increased fasting glucose on diminished lung function supported by latent causal variable models and Mendelian randomisation. We developed polygenic scores for lung function specifically within pathways with known drug targets to prioritise individuals who may benefit from particular drug repurposing opportunities, accompanied by transcriptome-wide association studies to identify drug-gene interactions with potential lung function increasing modes of action. These drug repurposing candidates were further considered relative to the host-viral interactome of three viruses with associated respiratory pathology (SARS-CoV2, influenza, and human adenovirus). We uncovered an enrichment amongst glycaemic pathways of human proteins which putatively interact with virally expressed SARS-CoV2 proteins, suggesting that antihyperglycaemic agents may have a positive effect both on lung function and SARS-CoV2 progression.

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