Revolutionizing Drug Discovery: Accelerating Leishmaniasis Treatment with AI and Scientific Detective Work

Impact Article: How AI is Accelerating the Search for Life-Saving Leishmaniasis Treatments
28 July 2022

An AI has rejuvenated the discovery process in the hunt for new leishmaniasis treatments, by helping researchers accelerate their efforts.

New treatments for leishmaniasis are crucial due to the severe symptoms it causes and the limitations of current treatment options. Leishmaniasis, caused by parasites carried through sandfly bites, affects millions of people worldwide, particularly in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Mediterranean countries.

Previous treatment methods for leishmaniasis have been deeply flawed, and relief is in high demand. DNDi, an international group working to combat neglected diseases, has invested in finding more effective treatment options. Among those efforts, they turned to AI after hitting roadblocks with more traditional drug discovery methods.

The AI, known as AlphaFold, created by DeepMind, uses amino acid sequences to predict protein 3D structures, a groundbreaking resource for medical researchers. It has facilitated significant progress in leishmaniasis research by providing the structure of the target protein for the disease-causing parasite.

This breakthrough has revolutionized the way researchers approach the study and development of leishmaniasis treatments, moving the field forward rapidly. As a result, scientists can now study and understand protein structures more precisely, a game-changer for drug discovery and development in the fight against leishmaniasis.

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