Thanks to very fast development of artificial intelligence, every day new applications of this technology are being invented. Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have just discovered a completely new, very effective antibiotic – halicin. It took its name after the HAL 9000 computer from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Halicin, despite its unconventional structure, has a strong bactericidal activity with a very broad spectrum, also against antibiotic-resistant strains. It influences the bacterial cell membrane, disrupting its ability to produce energy.
In the first stage, the algorithm developed by researchers learned to identify the desired features of a new antibiotic using a database containing detailed information on 2,500 medicines. In the next step, the program analyzed another database containing over 6,000 molecules for potential applications in medicine. Finally, the program selected 99 compounds that were tested in the laboratory. Over half of them showed strong antibiotic effects.
Halicin has been pre-tested on mice only for now. The medicine will soon be included in clinical tests. According to scientists, this is just the beginning of new discoveries. They are planning to use their algorithm to analyze the entire giant database containing about 1.5 billion chemical compounds. Scientists also predict that in the future algorithm will not only analyze exisiting data, but also create new medicines from many components.