Artificial Intelligence to Accelerate Malaria Research

Malaria is one of the oldest diseases scientists have tried to eradicate but with little success. Reason being, drug researches have had a tendency of hitting a downward spiral due to lack of reliable technologies that give proper insight. Luckily, new techs like artificial intelligence have come aboard, and in this case, researchers are tapping into the power of machine intelligence to combat Malaria.

In a new study aided by AI, some might have been shed into potential FP2 blocker properties that might avail a platform, which Insilicos’s drug researching crew thinks would assist in their new efforts to finally, and fully control malaria. Insilico Medicine is an AI company based in Rockville — but with branches across several countries. Currently, the firm is running a project they call Malaria.AI initiative.

Unearthing the Disease Mechanism


Now, the branch involved in this work is Taipei-based, and in general, it’s known for efforts in drug research. So in reporting, the sub-branch says it has managed to create a highly reliable end-to-end drug discovery system — that is fully reliant on sophisticated artificial intelligence. The work explains AI revealing how E64 finds and inhibits Falcipan-2 of Plasmodium falciparum after biding it.

Also worth mentioning is that Insilico Medicine is among the few companies that seem to pin more of their hope in the next generation of machine intelligence – especially in studying disease process and progression to design better drugs.

Malaria Control


The challenge facing malaria control for all these years is the fact that the parasite is able to fight back by increasing resistance to drugs. Meaning there is an urgent need to design newer antimalarial substances.

So the Insilico researchers embarked on studying the actual mechanisms the protease inhibitor E64 functions with, how it interacts and inhibits FP2. That is after they found its reaction mechanisms, and derivatives of E64 proved to be with low toxicity in people—making it a candidate for treating the disease.

Thanks to Data Availability

To make it simple, the team took advantage of the abundantly available data for malaria to train a deep learning system. Well, while it’s sad that this disease is still a major health concern in tropical parts of the world, there is plenty of data about it, which provides a great advantage when building AI driven, models.

After running the study through their system, the team reports that E64 indeed does inhibit FP2. In consequence, this helped to explain the physicochemical factors involved in the entire processes – when E64’s interacts with FP2, and how that created an extremely favorable opportunity for solving the malaria menace.

Machine Intelligence Gaining more Ground in Drug Research

This is not the first time AI is being used to help fight malaria, in January this year another team of researchers also explained their interest in using machines on the same. However, the current study receives more thumbs up due to the fact the concept makes more sense.

Nonetheless, besides malaria, scientists have also severally been on record reporting major milestones taken with AI in the health sector. And a relating case to this is how the technology is being used to create personalized cancer medication.