Despite the hype, AI has already impacted healthcare and pharmaceuticals and now ML is being deployed to help find a vaccine against COVID-19.


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The first company to put an AI-devised drug to human trial, Exscientia based in Oxford, is examining 15,000 drugs held by the Scripps research institute, in California.


Cambridge-based Healx company is repurposing its AI system in the bid to find a cure to COVID-19. The system examines all literature connected to the disease, studies the virus DNA structure and surveys appropriateness of different drugs.


Healx plans to purpose the findings into a list of drug candidates with the next step, clinical trials.


When it comes to COVID-19, there are two options; repurpose drugs already in existence or create a new drug that would involve at least two years for approval.


Healx is examining 4, 000 drugs already on the market with millions of possible drug pairs and billions of triple-drug combinations.


The U.S. has also seen rapid activity and cooperation on the vaccine front; Northeastern University's Barabasi Labs, Harvard Medical School, Stanford Network Science Institute and biotech start-up Schipher Medicine are using AI has helped identify 81 potential drugs in a new partnership.


AI has the potential to play a huge role in finding a COVID-19 cure but experts stress the need for vast and clean data sets in order to do so. The need for policymakers, pharma giants, drug-data stores, and academia to join forces globally is urgent in the face of the present crisis.



Source: BBC

Image credit: iStock

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