Research programme to discover drug for Dengue

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Bangalore, Sep 18 (UNI) IBM, along with the University of Texas' Medical Branch and the University of Chicago today launched a research programme to check the spread of deadly infectious diseases like Dengue.

According to an IBM release here, the programme was aimed at discovering drugs for West Nile encephalitis, Yellow Fever and Hepatitis C.

The project, ''Discovering Dengue Drugs'' would use the computational research facility of 'World Community Grid' and the help of individual volunteers, who would donate their unused computer time.

Calculations would be run on the 'World Community Grid' to find the best combinations of drug molecules, that would inhibit the replication of the virus, that cause the diseases.

Department of Biotechnology Secretary Maharaj Kishan Bhan said in the release, ''viral diseases such as dengue continue to be a serious public health concern around the world because there are no known drugs to effectively treat them.'' ''Continued research and global collaboration was needed so that scientists can develop drugs that could save many lives. World Community Grid is a good step in this direction,'' he added.

The first phase of the project would target the proteins that enable the virus to replicate and would match them against a database of six million drug molecules that might inhibit the replication.

The second phase would find out the drug molecules that bind tightly to the protein. With these several dozen molecules they would carry out tests in the laboratory.

''Anyone with a computer and Internet access can be a part of the solution to address this very critical health concern,'' IBM India Research Laboratory Directorsaid Daniel Dias.

To donate their unused computer time, individuals could register on www.worldcommunitygrid.org and install a free, small software program on to their computers, he said.

When the computer is idle, it would request data from World Community Grid's server and perform computations using this data for sending the results back to the server, prompting it for a new piece of work, the release added.

UNI

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