Called Enabling Grids for E-sciencE, the computing grid connects ordinary PCs to form a super-sized supercomputer that is being used during this challenge to analyse the potential of more than 500,000 drug-like molecules over the next few weeks.
This effort comes as new data released last week by Peking University in Beijing, China, shows that the H5N1 bird flu virus can pass through the placenta of pregnant women to the unborn fetus, and can infect organs other than the lungs in adults. A rapid response to any pandemic outbreak of the virus would be essential to its control.
Dr Ying-Ta Wu, biologist at the Genomics Research Center of the Academia Sinica, says computing grids like EGEE are the fastest and cheapest way to discover new drug leads.
“We are using EGEE to find new molecules that can inhibit the activities of the influenza virus,” Dr Ying-Ta Wu explains “During previous challenges using the EGEE grid we discovered about 200 molecules with the potential to become drugs against bird flu.”
The EGEE computing grid powers drug discovery software that allows researchers to compute the probability that a drug-like molecule will dock with active sites on the virus and thus inhibit its action. Using the results of such in silico screening, researchers can predict which compounds are most effective at blocking the virus. This accelerates the discovery of novel potent inhibitors by minimising the non-productive trial-and-error approach in a laboratory.
“Asian flu remains a threat to world health and we are well aware that any pandemic could quickly spread throughout Europe" said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "I am pleased that the European project EGEE has found such an important application for computer grid technology as speeding-up drug discovery against neglected and emerging diseases. Collaboration between Europe and Asia is essential if we are to address world wide threats to public health”.
At the EGEE’07 conference in Budapest, Ulf Dahlsten, Director of “Emerging Technologies and Infrastructures” in the Information Society and Media Directorate-General of the European Commission, used the example of EGEE’s success with bird flu to illustrate the potential contributions of e-Infrastructures to science. "Computer Grids have achieved a productivity increase of more than 6000% in the identification of potential new drugs" he said. "300,000 molecules have already been screened using the EGEE grid. Of these, 123 potential inhibitors were identified, of which seven have now been shown to act as inhibitors in in-vitro laboratory tests. This is a six percent success rate compared to typical values of around 0.1 percent using classical drug discovery methods."
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
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22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy