Scientists have used artificial intelligence to identify a new antibiotic that could be used to fight a deadly drug-resistant bacteria commonly found in hospitals and medical offices. A study published this week in the journal Nature Chemical Biology reports that an AI algorithm was used to predict molecules that could neutralize the Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria. Abaucin, a potential antibiotic, showed efficacy in inhibiting bacteria growth on mice’s skin. This antibiotic offers hope in tackling drug-resistant bacteria, a growing challenge in treating infections.
Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada have developed a new approach to drug discovery using artificial intelligence (AI). By analyzing thousands of potential drugs, they were able to identify one that may work. Jonathan Stokes, the lead author, believes that AI can enhance our capabilities by enabling faster and improved processes, including the potential for discovering new drugs in the future. Although there is promise in the preliminary results, researchers need to conduct larger studies to confirm the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
What superbug did researchers aim to combat?
According to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Acinetobacter baumannii, a drug-resistant superbug, infected 8,500 people and caused 700 deaths. The superbug is resistant to the potent antibiotic carbapenem. Researchers from MIT and Harvard are screening potential antibiotics to combat this bacteria in hospitals and healthcare settings. The bacteria has a reputation for infecting vulnerable patients in hospitals and healthcare settings, including intensive care units. This research offers hope in the fight against superbugs and can safeguard vulnerable patients in healthcare settings.
How did AI identify a brand-new antibiotic?
Researchers have developed an AI model to identify drugs and active ingredients that could be effective against a superbug. After testing 7,684 drugs and active ingredients, the team narrowed the field to 240 and then tested them further. The result was the discovery of a molecule, RS102895, now known as abaucin, which showed potent activity against the superbug. This AI model could be a powerful tool in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
What comes next for Abaucin?
University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers discover abaucin, a potential antibiotic for treating bacterial infections. Laboratory studies have tested the antibiotic and confirmed its effectiveness against a variety of bacteria. Researchers aim to enhance abaucin’s chemical structure and conduct further studies in larger animals and potentially humans. The antibiotic needs to be both effective against bacteria and well-tolerated in humans, with sufficient duration at the infection site.
Machine learning enables the screening of a larger volume of potential drugs compared to traditional methods. By using algorithms developed from machine learning, researchers can evaluate hundreds of millions to billions of drug molecules at once, allowing for a much more comprehensive assessment of potential drugs. This breakthrough could improve treatment options for diseases and spur the development of new medications.