However, research accelerated by artificial intelligence will not produce antibiotics on pharmacy shelves until perhaps 2030.
Pohjoisamerikkalaiset researchers have found an antibiotic with the help of artificial intelligence that can kill a super bacterium that is resistant to currently used antibiotics, says The British broadcasting company BBC on its website.
According to the researchers, the artificial intelligence was fed information about thousands of chemical compounds in order to learn what kind of compounds could attack the dangerous rod bacterium Acinetobacter baumannii.
Enlightened by this information, the artificial intelligence was made to go through 6,680 compounds whose effect was unknown.
The artificial intelligence waded through the compounds and compiled a list of 240 medicinal compounds in an hour and a half. Nine of them proved to be potential antibiotics in the researchers’ laboratory tests. One of them proved to be very effective against the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria, reports the BBC.
The results of the study were published on Thursday in the scientific journal In Nature Chemical Biology.
Artificial intelligence and the experimental antibiotic abaucin, discovered by researchers, was able to treat inflamed wounds in mice and kill bacterial samples taken from human patients in laboratory conditions. Somewhat surprisingly, the antibiotic in question did not work against other bacteria.
Researcher at McMaster University Jonathan Stokes told the BBC that the promising preliminary results are, however, only the beginning of a long drug development work.
“Now the work begins,” he said.
After the laboratory studies, there would be possible human trials ahead. According to Stokes, the first antibiotics developed with the help of artificial intelligence could be on pharmacy shelves perhaps by 2030.
Acinetobacter baumannii is one of several antibiotic-resistant bacteria that kills according to one research review annually up to around 1.3 million people worldwide. Among the worst is colibacter (E. coli), whose mutations cause dangerous intestinal infections.
World Health Organization WHO published by in 2017, a list of antibiotic-resistant pathogens that were considered the greatest threats to human health.
The first on the list of twelve bacteria was Acinetobacter baumannii, which causes nosocomial infections especially in intensive care and burn units, and of which 26–56 percent of the patients who fell ill have died, the American Society for Microbiology has told.