AI Discovers Antibiotic (Abstract Science, Feb. 16 – 22)
Mary Parker

AI Discovers Antibiotic (Abstract Science, Feb. 16 – 22)

Trained AI discovers potent antibiotic. Also: coronavirus progress and warming oceans are getting louder

Warming Oceans are Getting Louder

(Lauren Lipuma, American Geophysical Union, 2/18/20)

The snapping shrimp, a small crustacean that makes a lot of noise by snapping its claws, could become loud enough to interfere with sonar. According to research presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020, warmer oceans are causing individual shrimp to become more active, and their snaps are also getting louder. This trend could affect the communication of other marine species, and even disrupt sonar from submarines.

Factbox: Global efforts to develop vaccines, drugs to fight the coronavirus

(Reuters, 2/20/20)

Government health agencies and biotech companies are working towards better treatment options and possible vaccines to fight the spread of coronavirus. Thanks to China’s quick release of the coronavirus’ genetic sequence, several companies are working towards a vaccine, while others are looking into repurposing existing drugs to help those already infected.

Powerful antibiotic discovered using machine learning for first time

(Ian Sample, The Guardian, 2/20/20)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, using a specially trained algorithm, have identified a potential new antibiotic. The drug was discovered by a trained AI combing through a vast library of drugs - including some that failed to go to market - looking for any that could have antimicrobial properties. The program identified several drugs as contenders, including one that was originally developed to treat diabetes.  The drug was tested against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and strains of Enterobacteriaceae with promising results. 

—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Mary Parker