A team at Flinders University in South Australia has developed a new vaccine believed to be the first human drug in the world to be completely designed by artificial intelligence (AI).

While drugs have been designed using computers before, this vaccine went one step further being independently created by an AI program called SAM (Search Algorithm for Ligands).

Flinders University Professor Nikolai Petrovsky who led the development told Business Insider Australia its name is derived from what it was tasked to do: search the universe for all conceivable compounds to find a good human drug (also called a ligand).

“We had to teach the AI program on a set of compounds that are known to activate the human immune system, and a set of compounds that don’t work. The job of the AI was then to work out for itself what distinguished a drug that worked from one that doesn’t,” Petrovsky said, who is also the Research Director of Australian biotechnology company Vaxine.

“We then developed another program, called the synthetic chemist which generated trillions of different chemical compounds that we then fed to SAM so that it could sift through all of these to find candidates that it thought might be good human immune drugs.”

Image Credit:  nopparit/iStock

Thanks to Heinz V. Hoenen.  Follow him on twitter: @HeinzVHoenen

Read more at sciencealert.com

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