New antibiotics discovered for the first time in 60 years thanks to AI

New antibiotics discovered for the first time in 60 years thanks to AI

NHS shres its winter flu jab advert

Sarra Gray

By Sarra Gray

Published: 22/12/2023

- 13:51

Updated: 22/12/2023

- 14:21

New antibiotics has been discovered with the help of AI

Scientists have used artificial intelligence to find a medicine that can treat a bacteria that is currently drug-resistant.

This is the first new antibiotic found in more than 60 years.

The medicine will target the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause infections of the skin.

In more serious cases, it can cause potentially life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia.


An new antibiotic has been discovered


The discovery was made by professionals at the Medical Engineering and Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The team used the help of AI technology to test 39,000 compounds to see if they could protect against the bacteria.

This information was fed into an AI model to find the best new antibiotic.

This knowledge could help with the development of even more effective drugs in the future.

MIT professor and one of the study's authors James Collins said: "The insight here was that we could see what was being learned by the models to make their predictions that certain molecules would make for good antibiotics.

"Our work provides a framework that is time-efficient, resource-efficient, and mechanistically insightful, from a chemical-structure standpoint, in ways that we haven’t had to date."

Postdoc at IMES and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Felix Wong added the new antibiotic can target the bacteria without damaging human cells.

He added: “We have pretty strong evidence that this new structural class is active against Gram-positive pathogens by selectively dissipating the proton motive force in bacteria.

Woman using antibiotics

It could treat a potentially life-threatening illness


“The molecules are attacking bacterial cell membranes selectively, in a way that does not incur substantial damage in human cell membranes.

"Our substantially augmented deep learning approach allowed us to predict this new structural class of antibiotics and enabled the finding that it is not toxic against human cells.”

Antibiotics are prescribed for various illnesses and experts have warned about the risk of catching flu, cold and viruses at this time of year.

They added a "delicious" and "immune-boosting" fruit can slash your risk of getting the flu and viruses this winter.

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