AI will help create a new vaccine in an hour if the coronavirus mutates

Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), University of California School of Engineering Research Group

Viterbi has developed a method to expedite vaccine analysis and focus on the best preventive medical therapy.

It is easily adaptable to analyze potentialmutations of the virus. A machine learning model can perform vaccine development cycles that used to take months or years in seconds and minutes, the study said.

Using AI, engineers can create newmulti-epitope vaccine for a new virus in less than a minute and confirm its quality within an hour. In contrast, modern virus control processes require growing the pathogen in the laboratory, deactivating it, and administering the virus that caused the disease. The process is laborious and takes more than a year; meanwhile the disease is spreading. This method will come in handy for future pandemics.

The new method will be especially useful in the currentstage of a pandemic, when the coronavirus begins to mutate around the world. Some scientists are concerned that mutations could reduce the effectiveness of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Recent variants of the virus, emerging in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, appear to spread more easily. This, according to scientists, will lead to much more cases of illness, death and hospitalization.

If SARS-CoV-2 becomes out of control with current vaccines, or if new ones are needed to fight other viruses, the AI-assisted USC method can be used to speed up the process.

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An epitope, or antigenic determinant, is a part of an antigen macromolecule that is recognized by the immune system. The part of an antibody that recognizes an epitope is called a paratope.