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TCS has shortlisted 31 new drug-like molecules which are being tested in further trials as a potential cure for the pandemic. Photo: iStock
TCS has shortlisted 31 new drug-like molecules which are being tested in further trials as a potential cure for the pandemic. Photo: iStock

TCS, Wipro harnesses AI capabilities in fight against covid-19

  • From virtualised production of advanced drug molecules to applying data analytics for quick contact tracing, several Indian tech companies have deployed AI in the fight against covid-19
  • The disruptions due to the pandemic can be significantly mitigated through novel digitization and automation practices that enhance speed, quality and efficiency of clinical development

Mumbai: Several Indian technology companies with extensive investments in areas of digital growth are actively harnessing analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate drug trials, which in normal course takes years.

From virtualised production of advanced drug molecules to applying data analytics for quick contact tracing, several Indian tech companies have deployed AI in the forefront of fight against covid-19. For instance, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest IT and software services provider, has shortlisted 31 new drug-like molecules which are now being tested in further trials as a potential cure for the pandemic.

“We knew that SARS-CoV-2 virus which is responsible for the disease produces a protein that undergoes viral replication," said Gopalkrishnan Bulusu, principal scientist, TCS Innovation Labs.

“We wanted to target this protein using our state of art AI module for the design of a novel drug-like molecule. We built a data set of molecules from which we shortlisted 31 new drug-like molecules which are now being tested," he said.

He hoped some of these molecules would make it to clinical trials as early as possible. TCS works with a team of physical biochemists, bioinformatics experts among others to work on these AI modules.

Covid-19 is affecting clinical development worldwide, resulting in a decline of new trial participation, said Bill Stith, senior VP and global head of health business, Wipro Ltd.

"We, along with our extended innovation ecosystem, are privileged to be well equipped to facilitate virtualization and automation of clinical development and help our healthcare and life sciences clients advance scientific discovery and bring life saving pharmaceuticals quicker to patients...," Stith said

Through use of automatic machine-driven cognitive functions and mind processes, scientists can handle large chunks of information and carry out time-consuming repetitive tasks by replicating the human brain's perception and unconscious decision-making abilities.

Experts maintain that the disruptions due to the pandemic can be significantly mitigated through novel digitization and automation practices that enhance the speed, quality and efficiency of clinical development.

With several global clients in the Life Sciences & Healthcare space, HCL Technologies too has been working on virtual trials leveraging remote patient–doctor visits and digital interactions to ensure a scaled and seamless study across the globe.

Besides, the company has mounted a proactive campaign for healthcare facility customers to innovate on their patient-connect processes such as increasing e-enrolment of senior patients, remote approval of drugs by health care professionals, and robust business continuity deployment for critical hospital management applications.


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