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Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020

Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020

Context:

Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare jointly launched the Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020. 

Drug Discovery Hackathon:

  • Drug Discovery Hackathon is a joint initiative of MHRD’s Innovation Cell, All India Council for Technical Education, and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and supported by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), MyGov as well as private players. 
  • Objective: To identify drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 by in-silico drug discovery through the hackathon and also follow up by chemical synthesis and biological testing.
  • The vision and mission of the Hackathon are to establish the ‘Open innovation Model’ for in silico drug discovery against coronavirus.
  • The hackathon will also cover the various processes in drug discovery, including in silico screening of molecules, lead optimization, and identification of drug-able non-toxic targets.

Features:

  • The hackathon is an online competition and participants can participate from anywhere in the country or world.
  • It is the first of its kind national initiative for supporting the drug discovery process.
  • To attract international talent, it will be open to participation from across the globe from professionals, faculty, researchers, and students. Participants of Computer Science, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Medical Sciences, Basic Sciences, also take part in the hackathon.
  • MyGov portal is being used and any Indian student can participate.
  • In this initiative, the HRD Innovation cell and All India Council for Technical Education will work together
    • Both will focus on identifying potential drug molecules through the Hackathon while the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research will take these identified molecules forward for synthesis and laboratory testing.
  • The hackathon will have three phases of three months. The whole exercise is to be completed by April-May 2021.
  • At the end of each phase, successful teams will be rewarded. At the end of phase 3, the ‘lead’ compounds will be identified. Further, it will be taken forward for an experimental level at CSIR and other interested organizations.

Challenges:

  • The Hackathon has challenges that are posted as problem statements. These challenges are based on specific drug discovery topics which, are open to the participants to solve. A total of 29 Problem Statements have been identified.

The Hackathon will have three Tracks:

  • Track 1: It will deal with drug design for anti-COVID-19 hit/lead generation: this is done using tools such as molecular modeling, pharmacophore optimization, molecular docking, hit/lead optimization, etc.
  • Track 2: It will deal with designing/optimizing new tools and algorithms which will have a strong impact on expediting the process of in silico drug discovery.
  • Track 3: It is also called “Moon shot “which allows for working on problems that are ‘out of the box’ nature.

Source: DD News