February 27, 2015 – Eve


Anchor lead:  A new supercomputer is already making headway against an ancient scourge, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Eve is the fond name of a supercomputer being used to screen a multitude of potential drugs for common infections, with promising results.  Mike Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, describes the effort.

Klag: It’s a robot called Eve, which is basically built on a prototype called Adam, and it uses artificial intelligence to screen libraries for compounds that are effective for a disease of interest.  The value of this is not only that it can do things incredibly fast, 1000 tests a day, but it also uses machine learning to figure out based on the results what compounds in the library not to screen.  To the surprise of those who developed it they did find a drug that is effective against Plasmodium vivax.  :32

Plasmodium vivax is one organism that causes malaria, a huge killer of children worldwide.  Klag says that the more severe form of the disease is caused by Plasmodium falciparum, but this identification by Eve could shorten drug discovery and development times greatly. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.