Saturday 19 April 2014
News updated at 2:53 PM IST
Weather
Max: 35.4°C
Min : 22.5°C
In Bangalore
Sunny day

Low-cost Indian drug project a hit

Kalyan Ray New Delhi, April 10, DHNS

Baiting the TB bug

A new Indian endeavour on drug development has created a buzz among students worldwide. Many of them have volunteered to join hands with top scientists and large IT corporations for developing the first new drug against TB in four decades.

A new Indian endeavour has created a buzz among students worldwide. Reuters

A new Indian endeavour has created a buzz among students worldwide. ReutersRefampicin, the last anti-TB molecule, was discovered in 1963. While it continues to be a main drug against tuberculosis even now, the emergence of drug-resistant TB necessitated the search for new molecules. But despite being one of the world’s biggest killers, TB is not a priority for pharma giants.

Enter Open-Source Drug Discovery (OSDD). Conceptualised by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, it is probably the world’s biggest rational drug development with minimum cost.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, was one of the first organisms to be sequenced in 1998. It has 3998 genes but the functions of many are not known. A lot of research was carried out on the bug but nobody assimilated all information on a single plane. In the last three months, close to 400 students scoured through thousands of pages to create the world’s biggest database on the bug, using which new molecules can be designed.


“We now know at least one function of all genes and at least one pathway involving these genes. We can now look at specific choke points for developing new drugs,” Vinod Scaria, a scientist at Institute for Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) here told Deccan Herald.

“Drug development so far is a trial and error method that does not provide a holistic handle to look at the bacterium from all sides,” said Samir K Brahmachari, CSIR director general.

IT majors like HP, Sun and Infosys and Nobel-winner Medecine sans Frontieres have been roped in OSDD for developing new molecules “in silico”.

“The first hit has been transferred to an Indian company to find out if it can lead to a drug,” said Zakir Thomas, OSDD project manager.

One molecule is just the beginning. OSDD is set to provide many more because of its rich cache of fresh students – from BTech, MTech, MSc and PhD levels – who are brimming with excitement. They are using new computational tools to explore uncharted territory and getting rewarded in the process. For instance, 120 of the better performers among the 400 were rewarded with a HP laptop at an OSDD meeting here.

“We spotted an enzyme that can prevent the bug to enter human cell,” said J Lakshmanan, a first year PhD student from Anna University, Chennai and one of the laptop winners.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Runners, wearing jackets from the 2013 Boston Marathon, add their message to a cloth banner after...

Runners, wearing jackets from the 2013 Boston Marathon, add their message to a cloth banner after...

Yesenia Del Carmen 8, carries a cross reading 'No to the Deportations,' 'as she and her...

Yesenia Del Carmen 8, carries a cross reading 'No to the Deportations,' 'as she and her...

South Sudanese fleeing an attack on the South Sudanese town of Rank, rest during arrival at a...

South Sudanese fleeing an attack on the South Sudanese town of Rank, rest during arrival at a...

A sand sculpture of Simon Zelotes preaching the gospel is seen during Holy Week celebrations in...

A sand sculpture of Simon Zelotes preaching the gospel is seen during Holy Week celebrations in...

Rescue workers operate near floats where the capsized passenger ship 'Sewol' sank, during the...

Rescue workers operate near floats where the capsized passenger ship 'Sewol' sank, during the...

Pilgrims light candles held in orange skins on Good Friday in Tanarandy Mission April 18, 2014...

Pilgrims light candles held in orange skins on Good Friday in Tanarandy Mission April 18, 2014...

Leaked oil is seen on the surface of the sea near the site where the capsized passenger ship...

Leaked oil is seen on the surface of the sea near the site where the capsized passenger ship...

Firefighters stand near the remains of beachfront homes which caught fire in Sea Isle City, New...

Firefighters stand near the remains of beachfront homes which caught fire in Sea Isle City, New...

In this Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, file photo, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri attends the NCAA...

In this Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, file photo, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri attends the NCAA...

Women adjust their outfits as they prepare to take part in a ritual dance during a Gaga ceremony...

Women adjust their outfits as they prepare to take part in a ritual dance during a Gaga ceremony...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523