UG Team Pioneers Artificial Intelligence and Drug Discovery by Developing EBOLAPRED for Anti-Ebola Virus Drug Discovery


A team of scientists at the University of Ghana (UG) led by Dr. Samuel Kojo Kwofie of the Department of Biomedical Engineering has recently published a pioneering work on artificial intelligence (AI)-based anti-Ebola virus drug discovery. The pioneering AI-based drug discovery project called “EBOLApred” was published in the Elsevier journal Computational Biology and Chemistry. EBOLApred is also implemented as a web-based application to predict anti-Ebola virus drugs and inhibitors. The application is freely available online via

The UG team developed computer-guided drug discovery methods aided by AI-based machine learning algorithms. The algorithms can be used to quickly screen millions of compounds computationally to shortlist promising therapeutic molecules for drug development. This has the potential to shorten the laborious and lengthy experimental testing that chemical compounds must undergo in order to become drug candidates as well as decrease the cost involved.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a fatal disease that affects humans who encounter the body fluids of infected persons or infected animals including fruit bats, chimpanzees and antelopes. There have been several outbreaks in Central Africa from 1976 to date with case fatality rate of 40-80%. The biggest outbreak to date occurring in West Africa for the first time between 2014 and 2016 claimed more than 11,000 lives in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. There are persistent threats of resurgence of the disease in Africa. Currently, there are few anti-viral treatments available with limited successes. The deployment of EBOLApred is timely since it provides the platform to speed up the development of anti-Ebola virus drugs. This is an initiative driven by African based scientists deploying innovative solutions to diseases often not receiving adequate attention.

Amid the threat of EVD, the efforts of scientists geared towards finding the cure to a debilitating disease is a crucial step in the right direction. The University of Ghana is proud of the feat achieved by the team.

Dr. Kwofie is also a Bioinformatics Coordinator at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology. Other members of the team are Prof. Michael David Wilson and Mr. Joseph Adams of the Department of Parasitology, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR); Mr. Kwasi Agyenkwa-Mawuli at WACCBIP; and Mr. Odame Agyapong who was at the Department of Biomedical Engineering and NMIMR.