Courtesy of the Collins Lab at MITMore
The use of AI to discover medicine appears to be paying off. MIT scientists have revealed that their AI discovered an antibiotic compound, halicin (named after 2001‘s HAL 9000), that can not only kill many forms of resistant bacteria but do so in a novel way. Where many antibiotics are slight spins on existing medicine, halicin wipes out bacteria by wrecking their ability to maintain the electrochemical gradient necessary to produce energy-storing molecules. That’s difficult for bacteria to withstand — E. coli didn’t develop any resistance in 30 days where it fought off the more conventional antibiotic cipofloxacin within three days.
The team succeeded by developing a system that can find molecular structures with desired traits (say, killing