Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Grid computing offers new hope in race against bird flu

05.10.2007
Last month a collaboration of European and Asian researchers launched a new attack against the deadly bird flu virus, harnessing the combined power of more than 40,000 computers across 45 countries to boost the pace of anti-viral drug discovery.

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."

Sarah Purcell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eu-egee.org/
http://www.genomics.sinica.edu.tw/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions
12.12.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs
11.12.2018 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>