Press Esc to close
Friday 12 February 2016
News updated at 11:10 AM IST
Weather
Max: 32°C
Min : 19°C
In Bengaluru
Partially 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
Relatives of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad mourn his death at his home in Betador in Hubli...

Relatives of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad mourn his death at his home in Betador in Hubli...

Vehicles stranded at Jawahar Tunnel, which connects the valley to the rest of the country during...

Vehicles stranded at Jawahar Tunnel, which connects the valley to the rest of the country during...

Girls taking selfie during the lok Mela at Punjabi University in Patiala...

Girls taking selfie during the lok Mela at Punjabi University in Patiala...

President Pranab Mukherjee walks at the Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan during its press...

President Pranab Mukherjee walks at the Mughal Gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan during its press...

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi inspects guard of honour during...

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi inspects guard of honour during...

Gold medal winners Prarthana Thombare and Sharrmadaa Baluu of India, pose during the presentation...

Gold medal winners Prarthana Thombare and Sharrmadaa Baluu of India, pose during the presentation...

Bangladesh Goalkeeper Md Rasel Mahmud in action against Nepal during the group matches of the...

Bangladesh Goalkeeper Md Rasel Mahmud in action against Nepal during the group matches of the...

Shooters of India and Pakistan take part in the individual 25m center fire pistol men's...

Shooters of India and Pakistan take part in the individual 25m center fire pistol men's...

Sri Lanka's Nalantha De Silva, right approaches as India's P.L.Thiamanna, tries to control the...

Sri Lanka's Nalantha De Silva, right approaches as India's P.L.Thiamanna, tries to control the...

T Gopi of India winner of gold medal (front ) and Suresh Kumar of India winner of silver medal...

T Gopi of India winner of gold medal (front ) and Suresh Kumar of India winner of silver medal...

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