AI develops 'turbocharged' flu vaccine

A clinical trial will soon be underway in the U.S. to test the efficacy of an enhanced flu vaccine developed by an artificial intelligence system at Flinders University in South Australia.

The vaccine is believed to be the first human drug to be designed solely by AI. The Search Algorithm for Ligands, or SAM, was trained by scientists at Flinders to discover an effective adjuvant to "turbocharge" the vaccine's ability to protect against infection.

"This represents the start of a new era where artificial intelligence is going to play an increasingly dominant role in drug discovery and design," said Dr. Nikolai Petrovsky, a Flinders professor and the creator of SAM. Dr. Petrovsky previously led the team that developed the first swine flu vaccine during the 2009 pandemic.

The U.S. clinical trial, which is currently recruiting participants, is expected to begin soon and will take about a year to complete. The trial is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which has provided long-term funding to Dr. Petrovsky's team throughout the research and development process.

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