Drug Discovery Pipeline Identifies COVID-19 Drugs Using AI

Everyday scientists across the globe try their best to come up with a drug to treat the deadly coronavirus. For this purpose, an Indian scientist and his esteemed team recognized hundreds of new potential coronavirus drugs using artificial intelligence. 

“There is an urgent need to identify the effective drugs that treat or prevent covid-19. We have developed a drug discovery pipeline that identified several candidates, ” said Dr. Anandasankar Ray, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, the U.S. this study has been published in the journal Heliyon. The title of the paper is “Predicting novel drugs for Sars-CoV-2 using machine learning from a greater than 10 million chemical space.”

Dr. Anandasankar further added to his statement, “As a result, drug candidate pipelines, such as the one we developed, are extremely important to pursue as a first important step towards the systemic discovery of new drugs for treating COVID-19. Existing FDA-approved drugs that target one or more human proteins important for viral entry and replication are currently a high priority for repurposing as new COVID-19 drugs. The demand is high for additional drugs or small molecules that can interfere with both entry and replication of Sars-CoV-2 in the body. We have developed a drug discovery pipeline that identified several candidates.”

Joel Kowalewski, a graduate student in Dr. Anandasankar’s lab, used a small number of ligands that were previously identified for 65 human proteins to interact with Sars-CoV-2. This included the much-famed ACE2 receptor as well. Dr. Kowalewski said, “The 65 protein targets are quite diverse and also involved in many other diseases including cancer. Besides the ongoing attempts to repurpose drugs against these targets, we were also interested in discovering new chemicals that are not currently well studied. Our database will serve as a resource that will quickly identify and evaluate safe treatment strategies for the coronavirus and other diseases where the same 65 target proteins are involved. The COVID-19 pandemic inspired us, we expect our predictions from more than 10 million will speed up the discovery of drug in the battle against not only coronavirus but also against a variety of other diseases.”

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