Natural Science

published : 2023-09-06

New AI-generated COVID drug enters Phase I clinical trials: ‘Effective against all variants’

Once approved, the oral medication would be first alternative to Paxlovid: ‘A promising alternative’

A scientist in a laboratory analyzing data on a computer screen, taken with a Nikon D850.

A groundbreaking new AI-designed drug for COVID-19 has entered Phase I clinical trials, offering hope for an effective treatment against the disease.

Developed by Insilico Medicine, an AI-driven biotech company based in Hong Kong and New York City, the oral medication is not a vaccine but a potential alternative to Paxlovid, the only currently available treatment for COVID symptoms.

If approved, this AI-generated drug would revolutionize the treatment of COVID, thanks to its effectiveness against all variants and its ability to combat drug-resistant strains that may emerge.

Dr. Alex Zhavoronkov, the founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, expressed his excitement about the progress in a press release, stating that generative AI has transformed the development of this innovative therapeutic.

Insilico Medicine used its target discovery platform, PandaOmics, to identify the specific protein within the coronavirus that the drug would target.

With the help of their in-house generative chemistry platform, Chemistry42, Insilico's research team generated a molecule named ISM3312, which showed promising results against the virus in preclinical studies.

A close-up shot of a pill bottle labeled 'AI-generated Drug' with a hand reaching for it, taken with a Canon EOS R5.

The company filed a patent application for the drug in April 2020, and it has now progressed to Phase I clinical trials.

During these trials, the drug's safety and tolerability will be assessed in healthy volunteers, and if the results are positive, further testing on coronavirus-infected patients will be conducted.

The potential benefits of this AI-generated drug are significant. It has shown effectiveness against all variants of COVID-19, as well as other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS, making it a versatile treatment option.

Furthermore, the drug exhibits broad antivirus activity and has been shown to significantly reduce viral load and lung inflammation in preclinical studies.

In addition to its efficacy, the new drug offers practical advantages. It can be produced in large quantities using a simple, two-step process with readily available materials.

These qualities make the AI-designed drug a promising alternative to Paxlovid, addressing some of the limitations associated with the current treatment.

A group of diverse researchers discussing experimental results in a modern conference room, taken with a Sony A7 III.

Paxlovid has been linked to undesirable side effects, such as 'Paxlovid rebound' and an unpleasant taste, and drug-resistant strains can emerge as the virus mutates.

Insilico's AI-generated drug presents a hopeful future in COVID treatment, with the potential to provide more potent defenses against mutating strains and prevent future epidemics.

While the drug is still undergoing clinical trials, the early results are promising, offering hope to patients and healthcare providers alike.

It is crucial to stay updated on the progress of these trials and the latest research and results, as further validation is needed to confirm the drug's efficacy and safety.