Artificial intelligence (AI) has proved to be a useful ally in the battle against antibiotic resistance. A powerful antibiotic that’s even able to kill superbugs has been discovered thanks to a machine-learning algorithm
Researchers from MIT used a novel computer algorithm to sift through a vast digital archive of over 100 million chemical compounds and spot those that were able to kill bacteria using different mechanisms from existing drugs.
Reported in the journal Cell, this method highlighted a molecule that appeared to possess some truly remarkable antibiotic properties. The team named the molecule halicin, a hat tip to the sentient AI system “Hal” from Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
When tested in mice, halicin was able to effectively treat tuberculosis and drug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, the family of bacteria that includes E. coli and Salmonella. It also proved extremely effective against Clostridium difficile, a “stomach bug”