How Artificial Intelligence Could Make Drugs for the Future

How Artificial Intelligence Could Make Drugs for the Future 1

Artificial intelligence will play a big role in the future, and is already re-shaping many of the industries we rely on today. As technology that powers software development continues to grow, revolutionary products are becoming increasingly common. Tools known as Helm Kubernetes help streamline the development of applications that serve as foundations for AI software. With DevOps growing as a development philosophy, companies around the world are utilizing continuous integration and delivery to quickly build products with fewer errors.

Earlier this year, Exscientia, a British startup company, became the first company to use artificial intelligence to design a drug that would be clinically tested on humans. The pill, aimed to aid individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder, took less than one year to go from conception to a final capsule product ready for human trials. This is exceptionally quick for medical progression; the same drug would likely have taken five years to complete man-made.

Partner Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, will oversee the clinical development of the medication. The human trials (which will take place in Japan) will analyze how the body responds to the drug, as well as how safe it is.

Although the trials began this month, there still remains an awareness gap that could prevent people from wanting to take a pill produced by artificial intelligence. Some experts are wary about the role that AI should play in the healthcare industry, particularly when it comes to creating a chemical compound. However, using artificial intelligence to create prescription solutions is a much more efficient way to design medical products than by doing so manually.

This is because there are millions of potential molecules that could be useful in modern medicine; however, there aren’t nearly enough researchers, labs, and labor to test each one of them and the combinations that make them effective.

“There are billions of decisions needed to find the right molecules and it is a huge decision to precisely engineer a drug,” Exscientia’s CEO, Andrew Hopkins, said during a BBC interview. “But the beauty of the algorithm is that they are agnostic, so can be applied to any disease.”

Artificial intelligence is able to sift through the available options, searching for the right mixture and learning about different compounds quicker than humans can.

“Active Learning [a subcategory of a type of artificial intelligence called machine learning] algorithms automatically prioritize the most informative compounds for experimental synthesis and testing and enable the system to learn faster than humans alone,” Hopkins added.

Artificial intelligence may even help researchers come up with vaccines for viruses like COVID-19. In fact, AI technology has proven instrumental in tracking the spread of the coronavirus. Predictive analytics will make a big difference moving forward. For instance, BlueDot used flight traveler data to determine COVID-19 is most likely to outbreak next, offering crucial warnings for public health officials.

To date, BlueDot has been able to accurately track the spread of more than 100 infectious diseases by scouring roughly 100,000 articles across 65 languages each day. Because of this, the company was able to successfully predict the Zika virus arrival in Florida six months before it actually appeared there.

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