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AI Enables Discovery of New MRSA-Killing Compounds

Using an old technique that’s new again, MIT researchers have discovered a class of compounds that can kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Deep learning teaches computers to process similar to that of the human brain; it is able to recognize and provide insights and predictions from complex patterns (e.g., from graphics, text, sound, etc.).

MRSA infects more than 80,000 people, causes more than 10,000 deaths each year in the US, and is one of the greatest threats to human health globally. As one of the most difficult to kill pathogens, the infection causes skin lesions, which can lead to infection, pneumonia, or sepsis, which can be fatal.

The MIT research showed that the compounds were effective against MRSA grown in a lab dish and in two mouse models, and they have little toxicity against human cells. The use of AI was of particular interest in the study, because the researchers were able follow its reasoning to determine the types of date by which the model was making its antibiotic potency predictions. The deep learning showed “what was being learned by the models to make their predictions that certain molecules would make for good antibiotics.”

This is important because it could enable researchers to design other drugs that would work even better than those found through the study. The speed of the AI learning is also significant as it greatly reduces the time from discovery to market. Traditionally, it takes more than a decade to discover a new antibiotic and another several years to determine clinical candidates to run the clinical trials. The AI-guided discovery can also address the need for new novel antibiotics to address the growing issue of antibiotic resistance.

With the approach demonstrating that AI models in drug discovery can be explainable and provide insights into the chemical substructures that underlie selective antibiotic activity, the researchers are continuing their study with a goal of discovering new antibiotic classes against seven types of deadly bacteria within seven years.

Read the open-access full paper.

Learn more about MRSA.

COVID Risk Matrix:

AI Enables Discovery of New MRSA-Killing Compounds


AI Enables Discovery of New MRSA-Killing Compounds
AI Enables Discovery of New MRSA-Killing Compounds
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