Singapore researchers to find drugs for COVID-19 treatment by tapping AI

Published October 17, 2020, 6:54 AM

by Xinhua

SINGAPORE, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) — A group of researchers in Singapore will tap their artificial intelligence (AI) platform to evaluate 12 locally available drugs to derive a combination of drugs that can be used to treat COVID-19, local media reported on Friday.

A Singaporean health care worker dressed in personal protective equipment collects a nasal swab sample from a migrant worker for testing for the coronavirus. (AFP FILE PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The interactive digital platform leverages AI to calculate the most effective combination of drugs – along with their respective doses – from more than 530,000 possibilities, the Straits Times reported. The research team will be evaluating a set of 12 locally accessible drugs, ranging from anti-virals to targeted therapies and other agents.

The researchers at the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, found in a study conducted in April that the most optimal drug combination comprises remdesivir, lopinavir and ritonavir, which are used to treat patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The Straits Times quoted Professor Dean Ho as saying that the “combination enabled near complete inhibition of the virus, but remdesivir isn’t readily available, which is a challenge that we will address in follow-on studies.”

In addition, remdesivir has to be administered in hospitals through an intravenous infusion, which could make it challenging to deploy if there are many COVID-19 patients in the community, Ho said, adding that they are looking to investigate drugs available in tablet form so they can be consumed orally.