HYDERABAD: As the world races to find a cure for COVID-19, scientists from Hyderabad-based Tata Consultancy Services Innovation Labs-Hyderabad (Life Sciences division), using Artificial Intelligence, found 31 new promising chemical compounds, which they claim can be synthesised and tested further to find perfect drug to fight the dreaded disease. The pre-print research paper was prepared by four TCS scientists — Navneet Bung, Sowmya Ramaswamy, Gopalkrishnan Bulusu and Arijit Roy. They will be collaborating with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research laboratories for synthesising and testing these compounds to find the perfect drug.
Speaking to Express, Ananth Krishnan, Chief Technology Officer of TCS, said, “The TCS Life Sciences Research Area is engaged in cutting edge application oriented research in Synthetic Biology. De-novo drug candidate design is the first step in a long sequence of steps to find a cure to COVID-19. The collaboration between TCS and CSIR is a standing example of public private partnership in tackling a problem of national importance.”
A common way to treat COVID-19 that scientists across the world are looking at is to inhibit protease called chymotrypsin-like (3CL), an enzyme that is present in ‘Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2) which causes COVID-19 disease.
The 3CL protease plays an essential role in cleaving long polyproteins generated by the virus into various functional proteins which is necessary for it to replicate in the human body. The TCS scientists used AI to design new chemical compounds that can help in inhibiting the protease.
A comparative analysis of the 31 new compounds revealed that they possessed protease inhibiting quality similar to compounds against COVID-19 that are presently under clinical trials. Scientists have also published the complete list of 31 new chemical compounds, so that anyone in the world can test them against SARS-CoV-2.