For more than a year, the whole world has been living in a situation of a coronavirus pandemic. The total number of patients in the world is almost 121 million cases. However, Covid has brought humanity not only millions of deaths.
Coronavirus has changed rare disease research
The coronavirus situation has contributed to the development of genetic medicine for the recognition, diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases.
Moreover, it is gene therapy that is a decisive tool in the treatment of rare diseases. Thus, due to gene research development, scientists can use the technology of changing CRISPR genomes. It is used to change the DNA of plants, animals, and even humans. This technology makes it possible to create immunity against viruses.
In addition, researchers are now moving towards approaches that make it possible to understand many diseases simultaneously. Thus, against the backdrop of the research success on fighting coronavirus, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and cancer, scientists have been able to test new solutions to solve problems with rare diseases.
Also, the situation with the coronavirus has contributed to the development of virtual research and the development of remote diagnostics. With continued investment in new technologies, there is a chance of developing research and overcoming rare diseases.
Coronavirus has contributed to innovations in disease diagnosis
The coronavirus pandemic and mass isolation have contributed to the development of remote diagnostics of diseases. For example, in the UK, due to the reduction in hospital admissions, patients use a special device for self-examination.
A device that simultaneously works as a stethoscope, a thermometer, and a camera that can be used to photograph the inside of the ear. This device can be used at home. It also allows doctors to monitor the patient's condition remotely.
Due to this innovation, British doctors can check the patients' breasts, examine the throat or ears.
Also, such a device is used by specialized nurses who visit patients at home. If children need regular physical therapy to keep their lungs working effectively, the device can be used to check the chest and determine if the therapy was effective and whether it should be changed.
Artificial intelligence may help treat coronavirus
A research published in Nature Communications showed that machine learning could help identify existing medications that might help fight the coronavirus, especially among the elderly.
The main problem of the pandemic was precisely the search for effective methods of treating the virus. And its rapid spread forced scientists to seek comprehensive therapy.
Adaptation of existing drugs has proven to be an effective option in the fight against coronavirus. New variants of medications prescription is an effective strategy, offering the fastest transition from research to clinical care.
However, finding new uses for existing medications requires researchers to conduct time-consuming and costly randomized controlled trials, computational biologist Caroline Uhler explaines.
Therefore, these were artificial intelligence and machine learning that came to the aid of scientists. Technology can speed up the process of medication redirecting, because such tools account for hundreds or thousands of human differences in a large population that can affect how medications work in the body.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have set out to develop an approach to machine learning to identify medications that are already present on the market and could potentially be adapted to fight COVID-19, especially in the elderly.
The researchers used big data analysis technologies to identify medications that could improve lung health in the elderly. Using a machine learning technique called an autoencoder, the team created an extensive list of possible medications. The team then mapped the network of genes and proteins involved in both aging and infection with COVID-19.
A machine learning algorithm analyzed the datasets to identify medications having the effects on gene expression that are likely to combat the problems posed by the coronavirus.
The team of the Institute will share the findings of their research with pharmaceutical companies. However, in order for such medications to be approved, they will have to undergo clinical testing for efficacy. At the same time, this approach to machine learning can be extended to other patients.