A comprehensive study on SARS-CoV-2 Through Gene Expression Meta-Analysis and Network Biology Approach

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biotechnology & Bioinformatics, NIIT University, Neemrana, Rajasthan, India

2 Department of Biotechnology, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India

3 Department of Biotechnology, Noida Institute of Engineering and Technology, Greater Noida, India

4 Department of Endocrinology, Sawai Man Singh Medical College and Hospital, Jaipur, India

5 Department of Computer Engineering and Applications, GLA University, Mathura, UP, India

6 Wuxi School of Medicine, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu, China


Introduction: Coronaviruses are significant pathogens of both human and animals and are globally distributed. Out of seven CoVs strains, the most lethal coronavirus strains being portrayed is SARS-CoV-2. It can cause bronchial asthma, and severe pneumonia and acute respiratory disease. Due to its contagion in infants, adults, and immunocompromised patients which further results in making this a deadly disease, thus there is an urgent need to develop effective and safe therapeutics against it.
Materials and Methods: Meta-analysis of publicly available gene expression datasets belonging to SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and HCoV-229E were carried out to identify the potential differentially expressed genes exclusively associated with SARS-CoV-2, and then a network model was developed to decipher significant drug targets, associated pathways and drug candidates which can be repurposed for this infection.
Results: The COVID-19 infection mainly targets immune responses and regulatory processes. A novel role of Relaxin signaling pathway was identified in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, nutraceutical and anthelmintic agents were found to be good prospective candidates for repurposing against COVID-19.
Conclusions: This theoretical study resulted in the identification of approved drug targets that may have the potential to be repurposed for COVID 19 treatment.