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Breaking antibiotic resistance: artificial intelligence can now design a new antibiotic vox in a few days

Imagine , You are a scientist , A new antibiotic needs to be found to fight terrible diseases . How will you find it ?

Usually , You have to test a lot of different molecules in the laboratory , Until we find a molecule with the necessary bactericidal properties . You may find competitors who are good at killing bacteria , Just realize that you can't use them , Because they also prove toxic to humans . It's a very long time , Very expensive process , And it can be very troublesome .

however , If the opposite is true , You can just type in the properties you want to find on your computer , Then let the computer design the ideal molecule for you ?

This is a IBM The general method used by researchers , That is, using molecular designs that can be automatically generated for new antibiotics AI System . Published in 《 Natural Biomedical Engineering 》 Last one In the new paper , The researchers detailed how they used it to quickly design two new antimicrobial peptides ( Small molecules that kill bacteria ), They are effective against a variety of different pathogens in mice .

Usually , This molecular discovery process will take scientists years .AI The system did it in a few days .

That's good news , Because we urgently need faster ways to produce new antibiotics .

 

Why antibiotic resistance is a huge problem

When new antibiotics are introduced , They can have huge and even life-saving results . since 1928 Since the discovery of penicillin in , It ushered in a modern era of antibiotics , We're starting to rely on them to treat killers like tuberculosis , And in the process of cesarean section or joint replacement to ensure our safety .

But experts Warning , We are now entering the post antibiotic era , At that time, the antibiotics we had became almost useless . We're going through crops , The overuse of antibiotics in the treatment of farm animals and humans caused this crisis .

The more we overuse antibiotics , The more chance bacteria have to adapt to our drugs , And evolved into antibiotic resistant superbacteria , So that our drugs don't work .

According to the Pew Charitable Trust (Pew Charitable Trusts) Of The latest report ,Covid-19 The pandemic exacerbated the problem . Doctors are even more inclined to prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily . Even though Covid-19 It's a viral disease , also Antibiotics don't work on the virus , But doctors have been providing these drugs to patients , To prevent them from secondary infection when they are in hospital - Even when they don't know if the patient is infected .

Now , As you take the time to read this article , One person in the United States will be Infection and Death , This infection is due to our overuse of antibiotics and can no longer be effectively treated . In this year , There will be global 70 Ten thousand people died of drug-resistant infections . A major report of the United Nations Warning , To 2050 year , The annual death toll could increase to 1000 ten thousand , Unless we make some fundamental changes .

The reason why big pharmaceutical and biotech companies don't develop new antibiotics , Because it takes many years and a lot of money to develop . Most new compounds fail . Even if it works , And the benefits are small : Antibiotics don't sell as much as the drugs you take every day . For many pharmaceuticals   The company is , Financial incentives don't exist yet .

however , If you can use AI Get the job done quickly and cheaply ?

 

IBM Of AI How the system works

IBM The new AI The system depends on something called a generative model . For the simplest understanding of it , We can break it down into three basic steps .

First , The researchers started with a huge database of known peptide molecules .

then ,AI Extract information from a database and analyze patterns , To find out the relationship between molecules and their properties . You might find , When a molecule has some structure or composition , It tends to perform some function . This makes it possible to “ Study ” The basic rules of molecular design .

Last , Researchers can tell... Exactly AI What they want a new molecule to have . They can also enter restrictions ( for example : Please keep the poison low !).AI Use this information about ideal and bad features , And then we design new molecules that meet the parameters . Researchers can choose the best of them , And started testing mice in the lab .

just as IBM One of the co authors of the paper AleksandraMojsilović Tell me that ,“ You just turn the knob , You get molecules that satisfy the properties .”

IBM Researchers claim , Their method is better than other leading methods in designing new antimicrobial peptides 10%. They found that they were able to design two new antimicrobial peptides that were highly effective against a variety of pathogens , Including Klebsiella pneumoniae, which is resistant to a variety of drugs (K.pneumoniae), This bacterium is known to cause infections in hospital patients . It is gratifying that , When tested in mice , These peptides are less toxic , It's an important signal about its safety ( Although not all of them are right for mice, they can eventually be extended to humans ).

 

In an article In a blog post ,IBM The researchers point out that , Even though they are interested in AI How the system can potentially accelerate antibiotic discovery and excite antibiotic resistant bacteria , But they also want the system to be more widely used . They imagined , It can help scientists “ Finding and designing better drug candidates , For more effective disease drugs and therapies , Materials that absorb and capture carbon to help fight climate change , Materials for smarter energy production and storage , wait .”

It's not about this AI The system can solve any of these problems by itself . But it proposes a computing strategy to solve the problem , Can bring really exciting benefits , And it could save a lot of lives .

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https://cdmana.com/2021/04/20210408115657550P.html

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