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The urgent hunt for new antibiotics

How artificial intelligence could help solve a looming crisis in medicine

The world faces a grave danger called antimicrobial resistance.

It's only 90 years since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin killed bacteria. Since then, the discovery and development of new antibiotics has revolutionised healthcare, and become the basis for many medical advances.

Common and frequently deadly illnesses such as pneumonia and TB now have effective treatments. The dangers of routine surgery and childbirth have reduced significantly.

But bacteria and other pathogens evolve to resist these drugs. And the pace at which medicine discovers new antibiotics has slowed drastically, at the same time that the use of antibiotics is rising.

If traditional methods of discovery are failing, that means we need innovative new ways to find antibiotics.

This demo by our IBM Research team highlights how high performance computing and artificial intelligence can accelerate the discovery of new antibiotics, inspired by the immune system of organisms.

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