Madurai

‘Bioinformatics dept. to focus on drug development’

Karaikudi

Citing a new study, J. Jeyakanthan, Head of the Department, Bioinformatics, Alagappa University, has said the department was focusing on the applications of computing power to streamline drug discovery and drug development process for some of the life-threatening diseases such as cancer and filariasis.

“Applications of computing power to streamline drug discovery will facilitate discovery of novel leads against life-threatening diseases such as cancer, filariasis, chikungunya, malaria, dengue, diabetes, HIV, zika and cardiovascular disease,” he said addressing an international conference on ‘Recent Trends in Structural Bioinformatics and Computer Aided Drug Design (ICSBCADD - 2019)’ here recently.

Prof. Jeyakanthan, who was the convenor of the conference, said dengue virus replication was found to be due to the interaction between non-structural protein 1 (NS1) in virus and a novel uncharacterised viral protein NS4A-2K-NS4B.

“Characterising this uncharacterised viral protein will help to suppress viral replication and severe disease manifestations,” he said.

“Dengue virus exists as smooth spherical surface particles while growing at the mosquito's physiological temperature (29°C). It then changes to bumpy surfaced particles at human physiological temperature (37°C). This ability to change their morphology helps the virus to attack the human immune system,” Prof Jeyakanthan, convenor of the conference, said.

Understanding this change in morphological characteristic of virus would help to develop the drug and vaccine for the dreaded disease, he said. Citing another study, he said researchers, using the gene-editing tool ‘CRISPR-Cas9’, have identified the key molecule ‘Mxra8’ that facilitate the entry of ‘chikungunya’ virus into host cells.

The persistent knee and joint pain or chronic arthritis after chikungunya viral infection in the chronic stage of disease was due to the presence of persistent chikungunya virus RNA in infected host, he said. “These findings, along with future studies, could help to understand the mode of infection of these microbes and develop drugs to treat diseases,’ he said.

He said the global small molecule drug discovery market, which was valued at 29,363.85 million US Dollar in 2018, has been estimated to be at 46,882.22 million US Dollar in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.11%.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 1:47:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/bioinformatics-dept-to-focus-on-drug-development/article30321045.ece

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