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IBM and Medical Researchers Launch Effort To Find Flu Drug Treatments
Date:5/5/2009

roject running on World Community Grid, we expect to identify new influenza drug candidates to test in less than a month," said Dr. Stan Watowich, lead researcher and Associate Professor of Biochemistry at UTMB. "World Community Grid gives us the computational power to undertake projects that are typically quite daunting. We can move from computer calculations into laboratory testing more quickly and with a sharper focus."

The joint project, "Influenza Antiviral Drug Search," uses computer power from over one million devices registered and hundreds of thousands of individuals who donate their unused computer time for humanitarian and medical research.

Influenza claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year. The current H1N1 virus outbreak is a reminder of how quickly influenza mutates and how easily new strains of the virus emerge. New flu vaccines are needed every year because of the high rate at which the virus changes. Each year, new strains of influenza virus increasingly show resistance to available drugs.

World Community Grid will run virtual chemistry experiments to determine which of the millions of small molecules can attach to the influenza virus and inhibit it from spreading. The computer predication can then be tested in the laboratory and clinic, which are the next phases in developing drugs for the marketplace. All of the results will be made freely available to other researchers studying influenza.

"Influenza is one of the world's most elusive viruses, and it has a deadly impact every year. Now anyone with a computer and Internet access can be a part of a global solution to address this very critical health concern," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM's Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and President of the IBM International Foundation. "At a time when the media is filled with discouraging news that is apparently out of our
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