AI Tool Seeks to Identify Variants of Viruses Before They Emerge


An Artificial Intelligence (AI) technique developed by scientists attempts to anticipate the appearance of distinct viral strains before they manifest.

The tool’s creators claim that it functions by calculating the probability that a variant will allow it to evade the body’s immune responses.

EVEscape is the tool’s name. It functions by analyzing data that has been gathered about how a virus has changed over time. The algorithm also takes into account certain biological and structural details pertaining to the virus.

The technique is a type of “generative AI,” a term used to describe technological instruments intended to function at human levels. Researchers from Boston, Massachusetts’s Harvard Medical School and the University of Oxford in Britain created EVEscape. The results of the team’s investigation were just published in a research in the journal Nature.

A lot of viruses constantly change in an attempt to survive and become more potent. In order to infect living things, viruses are needed. Once within the body, viruses keep proliferating and spreading.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new variations are produced via recurrent mutation. According to the CDC, a few of these alterations allow the virus “to spread more easily or make it resistant to treatments or vaccines.”

The scientists expanded on earlier study using a program they developed named EVE. The purpose of this tool is to investigate gene mutations that may lead to human illness. The group claimed to have effectively employed EVE in a previous study to find mutations connected to diseases including cancer and heart disease.

The scientists claimed to have seen an excellent opportunity to “rebuild” EVE into a new instrument “for the purpose of predicting viral variants” during the COVID-19 epidemic.The researchers described how it “turned the clock back to January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic started” in order to do this.