pharmaceutical fluke It’s something almost as old as industrial drug production. Perhaps the most famous of them is Viagra. Although it is used today to treat erectile dysfunction, its original purpose was pulmonary hypertension. However, the researchers encountered an unexpected side effect, and one thing led to another. Currently, there are many medications that are used off-label, but sometimes they are difficult to find. Therefore, a group of scientists from University of Massachusetts Chan developed machine learning algorithm capable of detecting alternatives to antibiotics between drugs for other purposes.

This is important because finding alternatives to antibiotics is becoming increasingly necessary as the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria increases. penicillin and other drugs for this purpose have saved millions of lives in the last century, but their improper use in some cases leads to bacteria study to avoid them. As a consequence, some diseases that were previously very mild can become very complex.

In fact, they only died in 2019, according to the World Health Organization. 1.27 million people due to infections caused antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Among the alternatives to these drugs that have tried to solve the problem are many substances of natural origin. From something closely related to traditional medicine, e.g. floors, in addition to much more exotic options such as Tasmanian devil milk, there are many substances that appear to play a bactericidal role. But while they are being tested to see if they are safe for use in humans and clinical trials are underway, there are many drugs that have already been tested for other diseases that, unbeknownst to us, also fight bacteria. Now artificial intelligence This will help us classify them.

Medicines that can be an alternative to antibiotics

In recent years, it has been noted that many medications may be beneficial. alternatives to antibiotics. This is the case, for example, with some medications. against cancer, depression or diabetes.

Some of them are just enhance the effect of the antibiotic. For example, it was noticed that metformin, a well-known antidiabetic drug, has this ability. However, others directly exert a bactericidal effect on their own. According to some studies, this may be the case antidepressants such as sertraline. So how do these drugs achieve this? And, more importantly, how can we determine their role as an alternative to antibiotics?

Some antidepressant drugs may have an antibacterial effect. Photo: Jeshhotscom (Pexels)

Finding weak spots of bacteria

Not all antibiotics work the same. There are many ways in which these can attack bacteriabut the most important are two: destruction of their cell wall or prevention of their replication.

Some bacteria develop mutations that allow them to resist the effects of these drugs. When exposed to them, only the resistant ones will survive, who, in turn, will be the only ones who will reproduce. pass on your genes to others. In addition, bacteria are capable of transmitting genes. Therefore, if many people have this resistance gene, it is very likely that they will pass it on to others who do not have it. For this reason, it is important to use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and in the prescribed doses. If they are overused, we will select the best bacteria in our body to resist them, unnecessarily. That way, when we do need an antibiotic, they’ll be ready to counter it.

This is why drugs are needed that act similarly to antibiotics but bypass the mechanisms of superbugs.

Blue bacteria swim with their flagella.
Overuse of antibiotics helps give bacteria resistance.

The role of artificial intelligence

The authors of a just published study trained a machine learning algorithm to find the bacteria genes that give them antibiotic resistance. Once this was done, they were able to classify the drugs according to which of these pathways they were associated with. That is, mutated genes are associated precisely with weak points that antibiotics attack, only in the case of mutations they are no longer weak.

Once antibiotics were classified by mode of action, the same was done with other drugs. It turned out that they were also divided into groups, but none of them coincided with regular antibiotics. This indicates that they may be a good alternative to antibiotics because they do not attack bacteria in the ways to which they have become resistant.

Although it is unknown what new routes they are using, classifying them into groups allows us to better understand which ones can be used at any given time. This is a good way to use alternatives to antibiotics. Of course, while this is being refined, ideally we aim to make better use of these medications. Our lives may depend on it.

Source: Hiper Textual

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