In January 2020, as the pandemic spread, we set out to find an existing drug that could be repurposed as a COVID-19 treatment. Although we designed our technology to develop new drugs for disease — not identify new uses for existing medications — we could make this pivot thanks to our comprehensive data foundations and flexible, disease-agnostic approach.
BenevolentAI scientists used our tools to search the Knowledge Graph for mechanisms related to viral infection and inflammatory response. They identified baricitinib — a drug owned by Eli Lilly and approved for rheumatoid arthritis — as the strongest candidate.1 This hypothesis was based on novel information extracted from published literature using our Platform that baricitinib could have an off-target antiviral effect in addition to being a well-known anti-inflammatory.
The whole process took just 48 hours.