Tech Mahindra R&D lab to use AI for researching COVID-19 treatment drugs
The company is collaborating with a bio-scientist for plausible therapeutic drugs and research laboratories for synthesising and testing these compounds
May 15, 2020 / 03:23 PM IST
Tech Mahindra’s research and development arm, Makers Lab, will use artificial intelligence to research on potential therapeutic drugs for treatment of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
The company is also collaborating with a bio-scientist for plausible therapeutic drugs and research laboratories for synthesising and testing these compounds, according to an official statement.
The R&D team used molecular docking approach for the development of the drug, given the high transmission rates of COVID-19.
What is molecular docking? Molecular docking is a computer-assisted drug design method used to understand how one molecule interacts with another to form a stable compound.
Tech Mahindra conducted molecular docking studies across 19 FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved ligands (binding agent) and anti-viral drugs on the RNA of virus.
Nikhil Malhotra, Global Head of Makers Lab, Tech Mahindra, said in a statement that the idea was to prevent the entry of virus into human host cells such as lung airway. Blocking the entry into the host cells would render the virus harmless.
“Also use of artificial intelligence helped the research team to evaluate multiple scenarios with different parameters while finding how molecules dock with the main protease (DNA/RNA),” Malhotra added.
The computational analysis has helped reduce the amount of time taken to narrow down the search among the vast array of molecules present in the process of finding a cure to COVID-19, the statement said.
However, there is more work to be done. Molecular docking has to be converted to actual drug design, testing and drug development at scale, the statement added.