Bengaluru start-up uses AI to come up with potential Covid drug

deccan chronicle  | Aksheev Thakur

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This is the second breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19 in India.

In for a major breakthrough?

Bangalore: A Bangalore-based start-up Sravathi has discovered a new potential drug for COVID-19 by using Artificial Intelligence and other advanced computing techniques, even as the whole world is reeling under the life threatening effects of this deadly virus.

This is the second breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19 after the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) that is working on the vaccine to combat the pandemic.

Sravathi, which was started by technocrats with vast industrial experience, has come up with more than 100 new molecules that are completely new chemical entities and validated through various physics and mathematics-based models. The start-up further selected molecules & customised them to check for its effectiveness as a cure for COVID-19.

Dr. Kishan Gurram, MD & CEO, Sravathi said, “We have used multi-disciplinary experts to get synergy and understand entire mechanism to come up with several new drug like inhibitors. Within a short time, Sravathi scientists designed 250,000 molecules and were able to come up with several effective molecules which inhibit the enzyme”.

He added, "Further, we have predicted various chemical, fingerprint, biological and toxicity properties using advanced techniques to down select final molecules.”

The aim of this year-old startup is to develop new breakthrough technologies using advanced tools such as Artificial Intelligence, flow chemistry and modeling techniques. It believes in multi-disciplinary experts to solve problems and has built capabilities accordingly.

Sravathi has started exploring external partnerships to continue its efforts in the entire drug development cycle and bring the drug to the market at earliest after appropriate required approvals.

Meanwhile, the researchers of SN-Life Sciences, in collaboration with TESPA India at Bangalore Bio Innovation Centre, have developed a programmable robotic machine that will bring down the cost of COVID-19 testing to Rs 500 from the current Rs 4,500. The innovation team was  headed by  Dr Harsh Vardhan Batra, the former DRDO director.

The machine performs the function of RNA isolation from clinical samples of sputum/swab without using the imported kit and it can do eight samples simultaneously.