Hackathon for computational drug discovery for COVID19 being undertaken: Vijay Raghvan

Hackathon for computational drug discovery for COVID19 being undertaken: Vijay Raghvan

Agency News

New Delhi, May 28 : Summarising the activities on COVID-19 related areas of vaccines, drug discovery, diagnostics and testing, the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Central Government Prof K Vijay Raghvan on Thursday said that a lot of activities have been being done parallel to find drug discovery for COVID 19.

While addressing the media here on Vaccine, Prof Raghvan along with NITI Aayog Member Dr Vinod Paul said that the process is always slow and fraught with uncertainties, but in order to succeed against COVID-19 a large number of parallel efforts are needed.

Elaborating the steps taken to discover vaccine and drug for coronavirus, said that efforts have been being done globally as well as nationally. “ Indian academia and start-ups are working on vaccine candidates in the very strong Indian vaccine industry. There are three kinds of attempts being made. The first are indigenous efforts. The second are globally collaborative efforts where Indian organisations are taking a lead role and the third is Indian participation in global efforts. With such a large portfolio, followed by efforts at risk- mitigation for manufacturing and stockpiling, success is better assured”, he said.

On drug discovery, Prof Raghvan said that our scientific efforts take three approaches. The first is the repurposing of extant drugs to see how effective they are against the virus and in mitigating the consequences of the disease. Second, Phyto-pharmaceuticals and extracts from medicinal plants are being tested. Finally, using a variety of approaches, new drug discovery including a ‘Hackathon’ for computational drug discovery is being undertaken. “A conglomeration of research efforts have resulted in new tests and testing kits. These include new tests for detection of the virus and also for antibody detection.

The latter are being used for serological studies”, Dr Paul said. The speed of these developments is made possible by the collaborative efforts of our scientists, institutions and science agencies. The regulatory system has also been closely engaged, combining speed with quality, the Government’s Scientific Advisor said. (UNI)