Press Esc to close
Wednesday 01 June 2016
News updated at 12:40 PM IST
Weather
Max: 31°C
Min : 22.2°C
In Bengaluru
Generally cloudy

Low-cost Indian drug project a hit

Last updated: 10 April, 2010
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
Biking Queens Yugma Desai, Sarika Mehta, Khyati N. Desai and Durriya M. Tapiya...

Biking Queens Yugma Desai, Sarika Mehta, Khyati N. Desai and Durriya M. Tapiya...

Camels with sign boards of BJP President Amit Shah during Sardar Patel Kisan Maha Sammelan...

Camels with sign boards of BJP President Amit Shah during Sardar Patel Kisan Maha Sammelan...

Restoration work in progress after an empty coach derailed off a slow track between Lower Parel...

Restoration work in progress after an empty coach derailed off a slow track between Lower Parel...

People dressed up as famous personalities taking part in the 'Carnival rally' to mark World No...

People dressed up as famous personalities taking part in the 'Carnival rally' to mark World No...

Police personal pay a final tribute to mortal remains of De Javaregowda, at Kuvempu Vidyavardhaka..

Police personal pay a final tribute to mortal remains of De Javaregowda, at Kuvempu Vidyavardhaka..

Couples embrace along the shores of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, India ...

Couples embrace along the shores of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, India ...

Children wear masks during an awareness campaign on 'World No Tobacco' day in Kolkata...

Children wear masks during an awareness campaign on 'World No Tobacco' day in Kolkata...

A view of Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru on Tuesday...

A view of Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru on Tuesday...

Bollywood actress Huma Qureshi performs at the CEAT Cricket Rating awards night in Mumbai...

Bollywood actress Huma Qureshi performs at the CEAT Cricket Rating awards night in Mumbai...

Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez with Malaika Arora Khan on the sets of a TV show...

Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez with Malaika Arora Khan on the sets of a TV show...

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