Can AI help scientists develop drugs? Northeastern Institute for Experiential AI explores how the technology is reshaping pharmaceuticals

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Cases outside China had risen 13-fold and the virus was spreading rapidly.

Those first six months of the pandemic were challenging, says Sam Scarpino, AI+Life Sciences director at the Institute for Experiential AI at Northeastern, because we didn’t have great options to treat the disease.

In January of that year, scientists had identified the key spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but antibody treatments for the disease were still a ways off. It wasn’t until months later, when scientists were able to extract antibodies from patients who had recovered from COVID-19 to develop proper therapeutics, Scarpino explains.

Read more from Northeastern Global News

Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University