Geoffrey Siwo of the University of Notre Dame in the U.S. will use a computational approach to identify broad-spectrum antiviral drugs that trigger an innate immune response and could be used against a range of viruses. Traditional drug discovery approaches target viral proteins, but this requires prior knowledge of the virus and can lead to the development of resistance. In contrast, compounds that trigger the host’s natural biological defense mechanism inside each cell are less likely to cause resistance, and can be used for treating novel viruses as well as for vaccine adjuvants. They will develop an artificial intelligence (AI) approach that uses predicted broad-spectrum antivirals to generate a large variety of related molecules. These will be compared with a library of approved drugs to identify compounds with similar chemistries. The top 100 compounds will be tested for broad anti-viral activity in multiple human cell lines.
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