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Harnessing AI Power: New Antibiotic Discovered to Battle Dangerous Superbug

Harnessing AI Power: New Antibiotic Discovered to Battle Dangerous Superbug

In a groundbreaking development, scientists have used artificial intelligence (AI) to discover a new antibiotic named abaucin, that can be employed to tackle the deadly superbug, Acinetobacter baumannii. This notorious superbug is a critical threat, as listed by the World Health Organization (WHO), posing significant challenges to public health. The bacteria have the uncanny ability to resist treatment, making them particularly difficult to combat​1​.

The discovery was made by a joint team of scientists from McMaster University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who utilized an AI algorithm to screen thousands of antibacterial molecules. The goal was to predict and identify new structural classes of antibiotics. The AI algorithm was trained with data on various chemicals and their effectiveness against bacteria, leading to the identification of abaucin, a new antibacterial compound with promising properties​1​.

The team then trained the AI model with 6,680 compounds that it hadn't encountered before. The model analyzed these compounds in just an hour and a half, leading to the identification of several hundred compounds. Following laboratory testing, nine potential antibiotics were found, including abaucin​1​.

The newly discovered molecule was then tested against the deadly A. baumannii in a wound infection model in mice, where it successfully suppressed the infection. This exciting development underscores the potential of AI in the search for new antibiotics. By exploring vast regions of chemical space, AI dramatically increases the chances of discovering fundamentally new antibacterial molecules, and it does so at a reduced cost, making this a highly promising avenue for future drug discovery​1​.

With the pressing need to find new antibiotics in the face of growing antibiotic resistance, the discovery of abaucin marks a significant milestone in the fight against dangerous superbugs. AI's role in this achievement showcases the technology's potential in accelerating drug discovery and offering new solutions to pressing health challenges.

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