Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
  Avian & pandemic flu
  Cancer
  Earthquakes
  Floods
  HIV & AIDS
  Malaria
  Stem cells
  Volcanoes
  Water
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States


This page was published on 15/10/2007
Published: 15/10/2007

   Special Collections

Last Update: 15-10-2007  
Related category(ies):
Information society  |  Health & life sciences  |  Special Collections

 

Add to PDF "basket"

E-science conscripted in fight against Asian bird flu

The fight against H5N1, or Asian bird flu as it is more commonly known, is continuing in the laboratories across Europe and Asia. The latest salvo has commandeered over 40 000 computers from across 45 countries. United and utilising the latest in computer technology, these researchers are boosting the pace of antiviral drug discovery.

Cern computer grid. © CERN
CERN computer grid.
© CERN
Christened 'Enabling Grids for E-sciencE' (EGGEE), the project has taken ordinary household PCs and transformed them into a super-sized supercomputer capable of performing complex computations in a fraction of the time. The 'supercomputer' was made possible thanks to the computing grid which was created between over 40 000 computers.

Specially designed software harnesses the combined power of the PCs and allows researchers to compute the probability that a drug-like molecule will dock with active sites on the virus and thus inhibit its action. The results of these computations, or silico-screening as they are called, are enabling researchers to predict and identify which compounds are most effective at blocking the virus. In this manner, the computers are accelerating the discovery of novel potent inhibitors by minimising the non-productive trial-and-error approach in a laboratory.

According to Dr Ying-Ta Wu, a leading biologist at the Genomics Research Center of the Academia Sinica, computing grids like EGEE are the fastest and cheapest way to discover new drug leads.

'We are using EGEE to find new molecules that can inhibit the activities of the influenza virus,' Dr Ying-Ta Wu explains. 'During previous challenges using the EGEE grid, we discovered about 200 molecules with the potential to become drugs against bird flu.'

Recently released data from the Peking University in Beijing, China, where research is currently under way, shows that the H5N1 bird-flu virus can pass through the placenta of pregnant women to the unborn foetus. It has now also been revealed that the bird flu is capable of infecting organs other than the lungs in adults. Based on this new information, analysts have concluded that a rapid response to any pandemic outbreak of the virus would be essential if there is to be any hope of controlling it.

Currently the EGEE Grid consists of 41 000 CPUs which are available to users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The grid's capacity is 5 million gigabytes as well as tapes MSS of storage, and is capable of maintaining 100 000 concurrent jobs. The opportunities that will open up once such resources become available will ultimately change the way scientific research takes place.

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

EGEE - Enabling Grids for E-sciencE
Grid Computing





  Top   Research Information Center