Makers Lab, the research and development (R&D) arm of Tech Mahindra, a company that provides digital transformation, consulting, and business reengineering services and solutions, is leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to conduct research and help find potential therapeutic drugs for potential coronavirus treatments. This may be seen as a important effort in using AI to find a Covid-19 cure.
In an official release shared with analysts and media, the company said that it was collaborating with renowned bio-scientists for plausible therapeutic drugs and research laboratories for synthesizing and testing these compounds.
“The Covid-19 disease continues to disrupt the socio-economic order, impacting lives and livelihood globally. As a leading global digital transformation provider, Tech Mahindra is not only committed to ensure the well-being of our employees, customers and partner ecosystem; but we are also invested in finding a potential cure for Covid-19 by leveraging cutting edge and futuristic technologies like Artificial Intelligence,” said CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra in the release note.
“Our objective was to prevent the entry of virus into human host cells such as lung airway epithelial cells. This is important because the high transmission rate of Covid-19 is attributed partly to the high affinity binding and entry of the virus into host cells. Once the virus cannot enter the host cell, it is harmless,” said Nikhil Malhotra, global head of Makers Lab, Tech Mahindra in the statement.
The R&D team has used Molecular docking approach because of high transmission rates of Covid-19. Molecular docking enables search for therapeutically potent drugs and molecules in real time, to find compounds that can act as inhibitors against a viral protein computationally. Tech Mahindra claims to have conducted molecular docking studies across 19 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ligands and anti-viral drugs on the main protease of the virus.
Tech Mahindra notes that more work was needed to be done to move the process from molecular docking to actual drug design, testing, and drug development at scale. This is just the first step, where computational analysis can reduce the amount of time taken to narrow down the search amongst the vast array of molecules present in the process of finding a cure to Covid-19.
About Tech Mahindra’s Makers Lab
As part of the TechMNxt charter, Tech Mahindra’s Makers Lab is focused on developing future-ready solution by leveraging next gen technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality, 5G – Network of the future. There is a range of business problems that Makers lab aims to solve in the future to enhance citizen services and customer experiences.