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Scientists Use Artificial Intelligence To Fight Coronavirus Outbreak

The new 2019 n-CoV, also known as Coronavirus, has caused more than 1,000 deaths only in China. Given its potentially catastrophic consequences, scientists have decided to fight it with all sort of resources, including… yes, Artificial Intelligence.

According to a recent article published on Fortune by journalist Jeremy Kahn, an American company called Insilico Medicine has been using AI to “rapidly identify molecules that could form the basis of an effective treatment against the coronavirus”.

“It took Insilico's A.I.-based system four days to identify thousands of new molecules that could be turned into potential medicines against the virus”, Mr Kahn explains. “Insilico says it will synthesise and test 100 of the most promising candidates, while publishing the full library of new molecular structures it has generated for other researchers to possibly use”, he continues.

The goals of this new technology is to drastically reduce it takes to find a cure, saving thousands of lives and avoiding the risk of an apocalyptic pandemic. “The idea is to find and test new treatments, putting them into human clinical trials in as little as a week or two, as opposed to the years it might otherwise take”, the journalist says. “[Coronavirus] is proving to be a crucial real-life test case for a host of new biomedical technologies”, he adds.

“Beginning on 31 January, Insilico began using 28 different machine learning models to design new small molecules that might bind to the 3C-like protease and inhibit its functioning”, Mr Kahn comments. “Some of these techniques employ generative adversarial networks (or GANs), the same kind of machine learning that is best known for creating deepfakes. In this case, instead of producing highly-realistic, fake videos, the A.I. generates new molecules that will form the right structure to bind with the protease”, he affirms.

“The company is not the only one hoping that A.I. will help create new treatments for the Wuhan coronavirus. A team from Michigan State University last week also published a paper on using machine learning techniques to create new drug candidates for 2019-nCoV”, Mr Kahn informs.

Draw your own conclusions…

For more information: https://fortune.com/2020/02/06/ai-identifies-possible-coronavirus-treatment/


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