Australia develops world’s first AI-flu vaccine

July 17, 2019

A new influenza vaccine has been developed in South Australia by an artificial intelligence (AI) program, after a spate of confirmed cases in the country. The first accomplishment of its kind sees the flu drug being independently created by SAM – Search Algorithm for Ligands – a computer program used by a research team at Flinders University in Adelaide. Flinders University was also the first to develop a swine flu vaccine back in 2009.

On the latest development, Professor Nikolai Petrovsky from the university elaborates, “SAM had to work out for itself what distinguished a good human immune drug from one that doesn’t from trillions of chemical compounds.”

Thereafter, the top candidates SAM identified were synthesised and tested on human blood cells in a lab to see if they would work. Results proved that SAM had remarkably come up with better human immune drugs than those currently on the market.  The new drugs are undergoing testing to confirm their ability to boost influenza vaccine effectiveness – 12-month clinical trials have begun across the US.

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Dimitar Sajkov highlights the need for a better flu vaccine, “There have been over 96 thousand confirmed flu cases across Australiain 2019 and a similarly rising number of deaths – it is tremendous to see such a promising vaccine that we developed progressing onto the world stage.”

Petrovsky hopes this vaccine will go on to complement or replace existing vaccines as the standard seasonal flu shot. He thinks the technology could potentially be applied to improve or develop many other vaccines, thus shortening normal drug discovery and development by decades and saving hundreds of millions of dollars.


Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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