AI and cloud computing used to develop COVID-19 vaccine – Drug Target Review

A potential COVID-19 vaccine has been developed by researchers using AI and cloud computing to prevent the Spike protein from binding to the ACE2 receptor on human cells.

Australian researchers have developed and are testing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate to fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Working with Oracle cloud technology and vaccine technology developed by Vaxine, the researchers from Flinders University analysed the COVID-19 virus and used this information to design the vaccine candidate.

The vaccine has progressed into animal testing in the US and once we confirm it is safe and effective will then be advanced into human trials, said Professor Nikolai Petrovsky at Flinders University and Research Directorat Vaxine.

As soon as the genomic sequence of COVID-19 became available in January, we immediately used this, combined with our previous experience in developing a SARS coronavirus vaccine, to characterise the key viral attachment molecule called the Spike (S) protein, Petrovsky said.

The researchers used computer models of the S protein and its human receptor, angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), to identify how the virus was infecting human cells. They were then able to design a vaccine to block this process.

Computer simulated model of COVID-19 spike protein binding to the human ACE2 receptor through which it gains entry into cells lining the human lung. Vaxines COVID-19 vaccine is designed to mimic the portion of the S protein attaching to ACE2, with the aim of inducing human antibodies that will bind to the COVID-19 S protein thereby blocking it from binding to ACE2 and getting inside human cells, preventing infection [credit: Flinders University].

The team has exploited the very latest technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), advanced manufacturing and cloud computing to accelerate vaccine design, shaving years off normal development timeframes, said Flinders University Associate Professor Dimitar Sajkov.

We achieved great results with Vaxines swine flu vaccine developed during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, where we commenced clinical trials of a vaccine within three months of discovery of the virus. We hope to achieve similar results with their COVID-19 vaccine candidate when it is ready for human testing, said Sajkov.

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AI and cloud computing used to develop COVID-19 vaccine - Drug Target Review

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