Discovery, through artificial intelligence, of a drug against a drug-resistant bacterium

by time news

2023-06-01 11:45:42

Using an artificial intelligence algorithm, researchers have identified a new antibiotic capable of killing a type of bacteria responsible for many drug-resistant infections.

The achievement is the work of a team consisting of, among others, Gary Liu, from McMaster University in Canada, and Kyle Swanson, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.

If future trials are successful, the new drug could help fight this bacterium, Acinetobacter baumannii. This species is often found in hospitals and can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and other serious infections.

Acinetobacter can survive on doorknobs and in many other places within hospitals for long periods of time, and is capable of assimilating antibiotic resistance genes from its environment. As Jonathan Stokes, from the research team, points out, it is now very common to find groups of Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics in laboratory cultures.

The researchers identified the new drug from a library of nearly 7,000 potential drug compounds using a machine learning model (a modality of artificial intelligence) that they trained to assess whether a chemical compound would inhibit the growth of Acinetobacter baumannii.

Using an artificial intelligence algorithm, researchers from MIT and McMaster University have identified a new antibiotic capable of killing drug-resistant bacteria of the Acinetobacter baumannii species (pink in the image), responsible for many infections that cannot be cured with normal medications. (Image: Christine Daniloff/MIT. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Image of Acinetobacter baumannii: CDC)

“This finding reinforces the premise that artificial intelligence can significantly accelerate and broaden our search for new antibiotics,” says James Collins of the research team.

Liu and his colleagues report the technical details of this achievement in the academic journal Nature Chemical Biology, under the title “Deep learning-guided discovery of an antibiotic targeting Acinetobacter baumannii.” (Fountain: NCYT de Amazings)

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