New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday emphasised on the need to establish a culture of Computational Drug Discovery in the country.
“We need to establish the culture of Computational Drug Discovery in our country. In-silico drug discovery, computational methods such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data will help in accelerating this process.”
Pointing out that drug discovery is a complex, expensive, arduous and time-consuming process, Harsh Vardhan said: “While we pursue clinical trials of few repurposed drugs for Covid-19, it is also important that we find other suitable repurposed drugs while at the same time, continue working on new drug discovery to develop specific drugs against Covid-19.”
He was speaking during the launch of Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020, the first of its kind national initiative for supporting the drug discovery process.
“Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 is a model to engage youth and train them in drug discovery and help to hone their skills,” he added.
In this initiative, the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Innovation cell and the All India Council for Technical Education will focus on identifying potential drug molecules through the Hackathon while the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research will take these identified molecules forward for synthesis and laboratory testing for efficacy, toxicity, sensitivity, and specificity.
Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said: “For the first time, we are using hackathon model for tackling a great scientific challenge. More importantly, this initiative is open for researchers and faculty across the globe as we are keen on attracting international talent to join and support our efforts.”
Minister of State for HRD Sanjay Dhotre also appreciated the concept, saying: “Our government has kick-started Hackathon culture in this country which is very critical for challenging our youngsters to solve some of the daunting problems faced by our nation.”