Google’s DeepMind shares coronavirus data with public to assist researchers

DeepMind, a London-based AI company acquired by Google back in 2014, is sharing predictions made by its advanced AlphaFold system that could help researchers learn more about the new coronavirus.

According to a post on the DeepMind website, it hoped to contribute to COVID-19 research by sharing data on “several under-studied proteins” associated with the disease. Proteins generally considered difficult to model were the focus of the research team’s efforts.

These protein structure predictions have been released under an open license, meaning anyone can access them as needed, but DeepMind did acknowledge that its prediction system is still a work in process.

“We emphasize that these structure predictions have not been experimentally verified, but hope they may contribute to the scientific community’s interrogation of how the virus functions, and serve as a hypothesis generation platform for future experimental work in developing therapeutics,” according to a post on the company’s website. “We’re indebted to the work of many other labs: this work wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of researchers across the globe who have responded to the COVID-19 outbreak with incredible agility.”

When researchers download the structures from DeepMind, they will also receive “more technical details” in an included text document. In addition, the company said it plans to share more information in this area “in due course.”