India, Australia scientists collaborating on Covid drugs | India News

India, Australia scientists collaborating on Covid drugs | India News

BENGALURU: Scientists from Australia’s national science agency CSIRO and BITS-Pilani, a premier institute in India will collaborate to repurpose drugs for Covid-19.
BITS pharmaceutical and data scientists will be working with CSIRO researchers and the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Australia) to create a unified, annotated and searchable database of ‘Open Access Drugs’ held by the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery ‘Compounds Australia’ facility in Queensland, a statement shared with TOI read.
CSIRO and Australia’s Medical Research Future Fund recently announced an AU$ 1.7 million initiative to use systems biology and machine learning approaches on stem-cell derived panels of human tissues for rapid screening of approved drugs.
BITS pharmacy professor S Murugesan, who is an associate investigator of the CSIRO’s project, and his data science colleague Vinti Agarwal, are looking for research fellows to join this initiative, the statement added.
The project is led by India-origin professor SS Vasan, who is the CSIRO’s project leader for Covid-19.
Stating that in addition to vaccines, there was an urgent need for safe, effective and affordable Covid-19 treatments that specifically targeted the virus, Vasan said: “A great strategy to find potential treatments is to repurpose drugs already approved for other diseases, but the current methods to do this are expensive, time-consuming and not fit-for-purpose.”
The new initiative, he added, will enable scientists to develop a multi-tissue drug screening tool, tailored for infections by SARS-CoV-2 and all its variants of concern, which could help fast-track drugs for phase II and III human clinical trials and minimise the need for animal trials.

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