CSIR Pushes For TB, Malaria Drug Finds [India]

Himanshi Dhawan | The Times of India | September 18, 2013

NEW DELHI: Giving crowd sourcing a whole new meaning, scientists at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have initiated a country-wide venture to build a chemical library with diverse compounds that will successfully drive drug discovery programmes, particularly for neglected diseases like tuberculosis and malaria.

CSIR had launched the Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) in 2008 with the objective of discovering drugs for neglected diseases like TB, malaria and others through open innovation and sharing of research that has been lauded across the globe. Building on the current programme is OSDD Chemistry outreach programme (OSDDChem). Initiated recently, students are trained in synthetic chemistry and the compounds synthesized in the universities, institutes and colleges in OSDDChem centres are submitted to the OSDDChem database and sent to CSIR-CDRI. These molecules are then taken up for screening at CSIR-CDRI for anti-TB and anti-malarial activity.

According to scientists, lack of chemically diverse compounds has been recognized as a crucial factor for the poor success rates of anti-infective drug discovery and development in the past years. So far, there are 34 academic institutions, including IITs in Delhi, Kharagpur, Madras and Bombay, Universities of Calicut, Kerala, Jammu, Pondicherry and Delhi, are participating in the project. Not only has OSDDChem succeeded in developing a national online repository of small drug-like molecules, it is now venturing into building chemical libraries with diverse compounds for driving successful drug discovery programs...