Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Supercomputers Identify Potential New Drugs to Combat 'Bird Flu'

Here is an brief excerpt from a fascinating article in US.News which discusses the role of supercomputers in the fight to discover new drugs to tackle the threat of Bird Flu. The full article is compulsive reading. The content of the article comes from the National Science Foundation.

"Like most viruses, the ones that cause flu are sneaky little things armed with an amazing ability to rapidly change their spots—that is, the viral molecules that launch a seek-and-destroy response from the human immune system. In the case of avian or "bird flu," new strains are popping up all the time and rendering old medicines and vaccines practically useless, which is seriously bad news if you're trying to prevent a possible world-wide epidemic.

A supercomputer-generated rendering shows a potential drug docked to the active site of the neuraminidase enzyme of the avian flu virus.
(Rommie E. Amaro, Lily S. Cheng, UC San Diego and San Diego Supercomputer Center)

Related News

Now scientists have called upon the power of massive supercomputers to stay ahead of the changes and help keep a fresh supply of anti-virus treatments on hand for public health efforts. One University of California, San Diego team has isolated more than two dozen promising and novel compounds. In some cases, the compounds appeared to be equal or stronger inhibitors than are currently available anti-flu remedies.................."

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