Does Drug Discovery Powered by AI is the Answer for COVID-19 Vaccine ?

first_imgQM or QM/molecular mechanics (MM) hybrid methods are useful for predicting protein-ligand (drug) interactions in drug discovery. These methods consider quantum effects for the simulated system (or the region of interest in the case of QM/MM) at the atomic level, therefore offering much better accuracy than classical MM methods.In this crunch time where the deadly virus is changing it’s molecular structure time to time by mutating itself, it’s much necessary to use the AI system to fasten the drug discovery process, as through AI technology it might predict the upcoming mutated form and create such molecular form as such which can act as a shield.  Testing and virtual modelling is also an important factor which can be fastened through AI. n recent research from Olivecrona and co-workers at AstraZeneca, an RNN was trained on simplified molecular-input line-entry system (SMILES) representations from the ChEMBL database. Policy-based reinforcement learning was used to tune the pretrained RNNs and generate novel sequences that followed the conditional probability distributions learned from the training set. Of the sequences generated by the network, 94% corresponded to valid molecular structures, of which 90% were novel. Once molecular structure inputs are available, machine learning and neural network algorithms can be deployed routinely in compound property and activity prediction. Fig: X-Ray Images, detecting COVID-19 using AI The sudden nCoV outbreak around the globe has taken the existence of the human race for a toss. People getting affected by this has no answer for survival. As per the statistics around 395,753 has already been affected by this pandemic out of which around 17,235 people have lost they’re live. Italy being the worst-hit country meanwhile, India is struggling to keep its people in lockdown to prevent becoming the next Italy.Now the question lies, how can such mass-casualty be prevented. The vaccine test is taking time and nCoV will kill another thousand people by the time vaccine is in our hands. The Covid-19 originated from the Wuhan Province, China, and scientists are stating that this virus has already started mutating and 2 types of this virus have already been registered.The constant mutation of the virus will lead to difficulty in creating a vaccine for this. In this scenario, the help of AI is essential as through this we can predict the next outcome in the coming time. Alibaba, the Chinese giant firm has already developed an AI system that can predict nCoV using the chest X-Ray of a patient, within 15 mins. with a staggering accuracy of 95%, such innovation is lending it’s helping hands to the selfless effort by the healthcare professionals. One of the most celebrated segments of AI is working in the healthcare domain. As per the current market, the cost of this segment is around $ 2.6 billion, top 10 pharma companies are using AI-powered technology to boost up their production. Companies such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is the industrial collaborate at MIT for Machine Learning for Pharmaceutical Discovery and Synthesis Consortium, it works on automatic molecules design. Pfizer is currently using IBM Watson for Immuno-oncology drugs. In the well-reputed journal Nature Biotechnology, a company name Insilco Medicine showed the design, synthesis, and preclinical validation of a novel drug in a mere 46 days.      AI can boost Clinical Trails By:Through testing of AI modules, we can measure and improve the biomarkers.Characterization of patients will be another big victory as phase III trial of various drugs fails not because they’re ineffective but there is a serious lack of patients to be tested. AI can power the system to simulate such kind of scenarios.Coaching via AI-based applications can be used before biological trails.AI could monitor individual patient trail.An Algorithm named AlphaFold, Google’s AI algo which can predict the 3D structure of a protein molecule. Currently, there is a paradigm shift in the pharma industry which is being supported by the modern technology of Artificial brain. The major shift is caused due to the introduction of deep learning. It’s a method where the computer selects the feature on its own to get the best possible result. There are various deep learning architecture available for different purposes. The major structure which is being used is RNN, CNN, Generative networks. CNN is majorly adapted for image classification and getting various insights from the image, the Alibaba’s model is also based on CNN. Whereas RNN is adapted for handling sequential data and it achieved major breakthrough in NLP.Deep learning models are mainly adapted in 3 major sections of computational chemistry namely, predicting the drug-target interactions (DTI), generating novel molecules, and predicting ADMET properties. Unlike machine learning models DL is much more effective in creating QSAR models.Algo named RNN is majorly used to predict compounds aqueous solubility, compounds protein interaction, also used for generating focused molecular libraries and to create novel molecules. Whereas, CNN is majorly used for virtual screening, biological activity.Aliper et al.  built DNN models for predicting pharmacological properties of drugs and for drug repurposing leveraging transcriptomic data from the LINCS project, as well as the pathway information. It has been shown that, using pathway and gene-level information, DNN models achieved high accuracy in predicting drug indications, hence they could be useful for drug repurposing.The drug testing is done in mainly 3 phases, Phase I, drug safety testing with a small number of human subjects; Phase II, drug efficacy testing with a small number of people affected by the targeted disease; and Phase III, efficacy studies with a larger number of patients. To decrease the cost function and speed up the project we are using AI-based methods in various stages to compute the result a lot faster. These include the use of AI in real-time image-based cell sorting, cell classification, quantum mechanics  calculation of compound properties, computer-aided organic synthesis 4., 5., designing new molecules, developing assays, predicting the 3D structures of target proteins, and many otherslast_img read more

Horizon stare still best option to find sea legs

first_imgNew Zealand Herald:There is little doubt that the dreaded mal de mer or seasickness is one of the worst and most debilitating of ailments that strike those trying to enjoy a day at sea.It is a peculiar malady, seemingly attacking people at random.Some of the worst boaties I have known – in terms of their ability, seamanship and knowledge of how things work – are the least affected by seasickness and can happily party on in the worst of conditions.Read more: New Zealand Herald More of our Members in the Media >last_img

Report notes alarming global levels of antibiotic resistance

first_imgIn the most detailed and comprehensive look at antibiotic resistance so far, a Washington-based research group last week reported alarming antibiotic resistance rates worldwide.The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy (CDDEP) released new interactive maps that show resistance trends by country and a policy document that tracks the use of antibiotics and offers steps for curbing their overuse.The data show alarming antibiotic resistance rates in low- and middle-income countries, and the group’s analysis suggests that efforts to battle resistance should focus primarily on preserving antibiotics already in use—not on developing new ones.Ramanan Laxminarayan, PhD, CDDEP director, said in a press release that, taken together, the maps and the report pinpoint antibiotic resistance problems outside of developed nations in countries that haven’t yet fleshed out policy solutions. He added that he hopes the report and maps will empower countries to better understand what’s at stake and take coordinated, research-based actions to limit antibiotic resistance.Maps show scope of resistanceThe interactive resistance maps, released on Sep 17 along with the policy report, represent an update of maps CDDEP first released in 2010. The latest version shows drug resistance trends in 39 countries and antibiotic use in 69 nations. They track infections caused by 12 common and sometimes lethal bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).Data in the maps come from several different sources, from small private labs in India to large collections from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. South Africa, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Australia, and New Zealand are among the included countries, and updates will soon add information from China, Nepal, Mozambique, and the Philippines.Some trends revealed in the maps include high and rising levels of resistant E coli in many regions, with the highest rates seen in India, where 80% of the strains are resistant to three different classes of drugs.Though MRSA incidence is declining in some countries because of antibiotic stewardship efforts, levels are rising in other parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, India, Latin America, and Australia.The maps and CDDEP report reveal an alarming incidence of resistance to carbapenems, often the last antibiotic tool that can be used for life-threatening infections. Sumanth Gandra, MD, an infectious disease specialist and a CDDEP scholar in New Delhi, said in the release, “If these trends continue, infections that could once be treated in a week or two could become routinely life threatening and endanger millions of lives.”In showing rates of antibiotic use, the maps demonstrate that human and animal use of the drugs is rising dramatically in middle-income countries—especially China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. CDDEP said though the per-capita use in those countries is still less than half of the US level, the increases are being spurred by increased prosperity. For example, in many countries, people can treat their own coughs and colds with antibiotics easily bought from pharmacies and shops without a prescription.Report details problem, offers solutionsCDDEP’s report, titled “State of the World’s Antibiotics, 2015,” is its first on the status of antibiotic use in humans, animals, and the environment and on resistance.  It reflects the group’s work on resistance issues and solutions in eight countries since 2008 and weaves in the experiences of its working groups in Asia and Africa.One of the report’s main thrusts is that limiting overuse and misuse are the only sustainable solutions.”We need to focus 80% of our global resources on stewardship and no more than 20% on drug development,” said Laxminarayan. “No matter how many new drugs come out, if we continue to misuse them, they might as well have never been discovered.”Researchers found that a drawback to focusing on new antibiotics is that they would be more expensive than people in low- and middle-income countries can afford.Coordinated actions can yield good payoffs, according to the report, which sets out six strategies that it says should be in every country’s plan to fight antibiotic resistance.In addition to stewardship, they include reducing the need for antibiotics through better sanitation and vaccines, designing incentives that support stewardship, reducing and phasing out agricultural use of antibiotics, educating all sectors about sustainable antibiotic use, and building the political will to address the resistance threat.See also:Home page for CDDEP antibiotic resistance reportCDDEP antibiotic use and resistance mapsSep 17 CDDEP press releaselast_img read more

Clean Line Energy Joins SECWC

first_imgThe Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition (SECWC) announced that Clean Line Energy joined as its newest Board Member. Clean Line joins a great group of companies already represented on its Board: Fishermen’s Energy, Iberdrola Renewables, Marsh USA, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, Southface, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and Southern Company.Clean Line develops transmission projects that connect abundant, renewable energy resources to areas that have a high demand for clean, reliable energy. The Plains and Eastern Clean Line will deliver up to 3500 megawatts of wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to Arkansas, Tennessee, and other states in the Mid-South and Southeast. “Clean Line looks forward to working with SECWC to bring low cost wind energy to ratepayers and create new jobs and economic development in the Southeast,” said Jimmy Glotfelty, Executive Vice President of Clean Line Energy.SECWC works to advance the wind industry in ways that result in economic benefits for industry, utilities, ratepayers, and citizens of the Southeast. As the lead for the Department of Energy funded Southeast Wind Energy Resource Center, SECWC is focusing on targeted stakeholder engagement to inform policy and permitting for wind imports, land-based wind and offshore wind. “Clean Line’s representation on our Board is a great asset for SECWC in order to advance all aspects of the wind industry in the Southeast,” said Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition.Apex Clean Energy, an independent renewable energy company focused on building utility-scale generation facilities, also joined as a member. Apex Clean Energy is based in Charlottesville, Virginia and has renewable energy projects in 21 states, with several projects under potential development in the Southeast.[mappress mapid=”14082″]Press release, September 11, 2014; Image: secwclast_img read more

Pope Francis ‘constantly monitored’ for virus – Vatican

first_imgFilipino cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, 63, had a private audience with Francis on Aug. 29. He went on to test positive for COVID-19 on his return to Manila on Sept. 10. VATICAN City – Pope Francis is being “constantly monitored” for signs of the coronavirus, a top Vatican official said Monday, after the 83-year old pontiff met with a cardinal who later tested positive. Pope Francis is being “constantly monitored” for signs of the coronavirus, a top Vatican official confirms, after the 83-year old pontiff met with a cardinal who later tested positive. HANDOUT, VATICAN MEDIA VIA AFP/FILE “We are being prudent,” Secretary of State Pietro Parolin told ANSA news agency. There is no particular alarm (in the Vatican), but the health of the head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was being “constantly monitored,” he added.(AFP)last_img read more

Horse owners frustrated at lack of legislation

first_imgHORSE racing in Guyana is big business. It provides a significant boost to the country’s economy, but the lack of a critical piece of legislation that will legitimise its operations is responsible for the sport not being a bigger success story locally.However, not much effort is being made to have the sport run in the most effective way possible, and as such the passage and necessary enactment of the horseracing legislation is taking too long and by the time it comes to fruition, much irreparable damage could have been done to the sport.To this end, a number of racehorse owners have voiced their concerns, saying the legislators have failed tremendously. Nothing much was done by the previous administration with regard to the implementation of the legislation, and the present Government cannot escape some criticism since a copy of a horse-racing legislation has been with the government since late 2015.“Look, this is not about politics. We, the horse owners, are aware that a draft copy of the horse-racing legislation was done years now, and why it can’t go to the relevant places and put into law. We need it,” one horse owner, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.Another horse owner, who also agreed to speak to this reporter only on condition of anonymity said, “All the politicians are the same. The (PPP) had the draft … they did nothing, now this government … since 2015 they got the draft and they too na do nothing”.The draft, Guyana Horse Racing Authority Act, which will allow the sport to run more effectively and to deal with violators, includes: increasing the membership of the Racing Authority from nine to 15; including the Bush Lot United Turf Club as a member of the GHRA and implementing a two-year term for members of the Authority.The legislation, which was championed by former GHRA president Justice Cecil Kennard, will also give the GHRA the power to schedule race dates for race meetings in the event that a club is unable to run off a race meeting.Dubbed the ‘Sport of Kings’, horse racing, since its resuscitation locally, has been operating under a legal document that was registered under the Miscellaneous Deeds Act.In February of this year, Minister with the responsibility for Sport, Dr George Norton, had anticipated a speedy passage of the much-needed horse-racing legislation.“If the legislation is there for parliament and must be assented to, then we have to do so, we should not have it waiting at the Attorney General’s Chambers. “It’s not the first legislation to be formulated later than that and has become law, so I see no reason we should wait, because there is need for it, and if there is need for it, everything possible must be done to make it a reality,” Dr Norton had told Chronicle Sport.Minister Norton then added, “It shouldn’t be rocket science for Guyana to have a legislation in place, let’s bring it to parliament and debate it.“I can tell you right now we are working on an animal protection bill in a parliamentary select committee and it’s amazing what will happen when that bill becomes law, in terms of the way animals will be protected by that bill, and we must take that into consideration in the drafting of our legislation.”last_img read more

Olympic figure skater Alexandrovskaya dies aged 20

first_imgThere was no immediate comment from Russian law enforcement agencies but Alexandrovskaya’s coach Andrei Khekalo told AFP the young woman had fallen from a sixth-floor window in central Moscow.Russian media said she had left a note reading “Lyublyu (I love)”, suggesting it could have been a suicide.Khekalo said Alexandrovskaya missed a training session in January and was afterwards diagnosed with epilepsy and quit the sport.Even before she was diagnosed with epilepsy she suffered from depression, he added.“I tried to get her to stay in sport at my own peril,” Khekalo said.He said she was particularly good at pairs skating. “She was fearless. She was like a fish in the water,” he added.Overlooked by the Russian system, Alexandrovskaya switched countries and partnered up with Harley Windsor, who eventually became Australia’s first Aboriginal athlete to take part in the Winter Olympics.The pair were crowned world junior champions in 2017, claiming Australia’s first global figure skating title and getting the nod for the Olympics in Pyeongchang.Windsor said he was “devastated and sick to my core about the sad and sudden passing of Katia”.“The amount we had achieved during our partnership is something I can never forget and will always hold close to my heart,” he said in a statement on Instagram.Peter Lynch, president at Ice Skating Australia, called Alexandrovskaya “a brilliant athlete with incredible drive and determination”.She and Windsor “did what many thought impossible”, he said in a statement.“Together they created greatness that will rest in the Australian record books for many years.”last_img read more