Researchers in Australia have used supercomputers to simulate the movements of common cold virus. This breakthrough opens up huge potential for new drug developments and life saving treatments.
Common cold is not a fatal disease in healthy individuals, but in people suffering from asthma, pulmonary diseases, or any sever upper respiratory tract disease, it can often lead to hospitalization and even death. Thus, finding a cure for common cold caused by human rhinovirus (HRV) may help in reducing mortality.
Biota Holdings Ltd., a Melbourne company is developing a new antiviral drug against rhinovirus infections in patients for whom common cold can prove to be fatal. In collaboration with researchers at IBM Research Collaboratory for Life Sciences-Melbourne, scientists from University of Melbourne and St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research are using this information about the new drug for developing a 3D simulation of the rhinovirus using IBM supercomputing technology.
Professor Michael Parker, deputy director of St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, says that his team used Melbourne’s synchrotron microscope to study the three-dimensional structure of the virus and supercomputer to demonstrate virus movements. This is the first time that a three dimensional simulation of a whole virus has been made possible and this gives a clear picture as to how the virus works and functions.
The simulation of the virus has raised hopes of doing the same with other viruses like meningitis and polio too and thereby leads to new drug discovery.