Artificial Intelligence Cracks Biological Mystery that Offers a “holy grail” for Treatment of Diseases – Including COVID

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Artificial Intelligence
Groundbreaking AI solves biology mystery in 'holy grail' for treating diseases. image: Twitter

Artificial Intelligence Has Cracked a Biological Mystery that Offers a “holy grail” For The Treatment of Diseases – Including COVID.

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There are hundreds of millions of proteins known to scientists, who have long struggled to work out their complex structures, however, in a breakthrough study, scientists at Deepmind may have come up with a solution.

Scientists at Deepmind, a Google-owned AI company based in London, believe they have solved the so-called “protein folding problem”. There are 200 million known proteins and many drugs – such as those designed for Covid-19 – act on them when processes go wrong inside the body. Scientists have only been to identify the structure of a handful, with their 3D shapes difficult to map out.


A better understanding of protein shapes could play a pivotal role in the development of novel drugs to treat disease. The advance by DeepMind Artificial Intelligence is expected to accelerate research into a host of illnesses, including Covid-19. Their program determined the shape of proteins at a level of accuracy comparable to expensive and time-consuming lab methods, they say.

But Deepmind has offered a solution, saying its system is able to determine highly accurate structures in a matter of days. Ewan Birney, deputy director-general of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, told The Times: “I nearly fell off my chair when I saw these results.


“It’s hard to know what the impact will be because it’s been such a holy grail.”

Dr John Moult, chair of CASP14, explained: “Proteins are extremely complicated molecules, and their precise three-dimensional structure is key to the many roles they perform, for example, the insulin that regulates sugar levels in our blood and the antibodies that help us fight infections.”

A better understanding of protein shapes could play a pivotal role in the development of novel drugs to treat disease. The advance by DeepMind Artificial Intelligence is expected to accelerate research into a host of illnesses, including Covid-19. Their program determined the shape of proteins at a level of accuracy comparable to expensive and time-consuming lab methods, they say.

What is protein folding and why is it important?
Protein folding occurs in a cellular compartment called the endoplasmic reticulum. This is a vital cellular process because proteins must be correctly folded into specific, three-dimensional shapes in order to function correctly. Unfolded or misfolded proteins contribute to the pathology of many diseases.

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