Immune systems across the globe have been working overtime this winter as a devastating flu season has taken hold. More than 180,000 Americans have been hospitalized and 10,000 more have died in recent months, according to the CDC, while the coronavirus (now officially designated COVID-19) has spread across the globe at an alarming rate. Fears of a growing worldwide flu outbreak have even prompted the precautionary cancelling of MWC 2020 — barely a week before it was slated to open in Barcelona. But in the near future, AI-augmented drug development could help produce vaccines and treatments fast enough to halt the spread of deadly viruses before they mutate into global pandemics.
With the help of machine learning systems, biomedical researchers can essentially flip the trial-and-error methodology on its head. Instead of systematically trying each potential treatment manually, researchers can use an AI to sort through massive databases of candidate compounds and recommend the ones most likely to be effective.