Discovering drugs involves an extremely complex, expensive and lengthy process that cannot be carried out without the
combined efforts of experts. With the world trying its best to develop a defense mechanism and defeat the Coronavirus,
at the same time Artificial Intelligence is showing a glimmer of hope.
In this article, let us find out how AI is empowering scientists in drug discovery, and how this next-gen technology is
contributing to saving the world against the deadly virus.

Application of AI in drug designing

Drugs Designing

In the drug designing process, the role of information engines is crucial. Information engines are applications that
fundamentally help in gathering, organizing data and synthesizing insights. These provide the basic information that will
be used by scientists in drug designing processes going forward, using various AI-enabled prescriptive functions.
When it comes to drug designing, AI is applied at the molecular level. The process starts with extracting data from the
information engines so that insights from novel drug elements can be accurately determined. This is being done to
validate the existing drug candidates and to redesign the remaining drugs for new therapeutic sectors.
To predict disease targets, Machine Learning techniques are being employed. Then AI triage is applied to group the
targets based on certain parameters including drug ability, safety, chemical opportunity and more. Finally, a ranked list is
generated with the most promising ones at the top.
However, for repurposing drugs, the existing ones are tried and tested to see whether they can be reformulated to treat
targets suffering from other diseases. Consequently, this is bringing in more revenues from the existing drugs. In some
cases, developing a new drug might not seem profitable, so AI is being used to repurpose these drugs for treating rare
Experts suggest that scientists develop drugs, keeping in mind the scope of repurposing them, rather than limiting the
drug to a particular disease alone. It leads to the development of various multi-purpose drugs thereby making more
profits for pharmaceutical companies.

How is AI helping in the fight against coronavirus?

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence in healthcare especially in drug development have enabled startups in gaining
access to the required manpower and resources for strengthening their AI solutions. But if we talk about the
investments made in AI technologies for medical imaging, it is about 3.5 times lesser than that for drug developments.
These investments have been pushed to encourage startup owners to partner with pharmaceutical brands to bring in a
revolution in the industry. With the help of funds, startups that are still in the development stage are testing their
solutions to make it flaw-proof and ready for the medical industry.
Although many are hoping that AI will help identify targets and build research molecules faster, the final approval
process will take another year to validate the results following protocols. So the medical fraternity is considering and
conducting experiments to repurpose existing drugs with the hope of fighting back Covid-19 alongside waiting for the
development of new vaccines.