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Health Spotlight: A.I. being used to speed up drug development

(Photo aired on WISH-TV)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It takes millions to billions of dollars to take a drug from the lab to the pharmacy.

In 2022, out of thousands of drugs in clinical trials, the FDA approved 37, the fewest to pass regulatory inspection since 2016. But now, artificial intelligence, or A.I., might be able to help weed out the good from the bad, the drugs that will work and the ones that won’t.

On average, it takes 10 years to develop a new drug. A team at the University of Central Florida is working to speed up the process using an A.I.-based drug screening method they’ve developed.

The method translates the complex interactions at each drug-protein binding site into words. The model then analyzes that language to learn which part of a virus protein a drug will bind to. It has been able to predict how well a drug will work with 97% accuracy.

Another benefit of artificial intelligence in drug discovery is the less time spent in a lab, the lower the cost to create a drug. Researchers believe that savings could also be handed down to consumers.

The university’s program is called Attention Site DTI and is available for free use for anyone developing a new drug.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.