HP University scientists gets Microsoft Grant for coronavirus research

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The team will perform screening of phytochemical constituents for anti-viral activity through interaction with COVID-19 specific targets using molecular modelling studies

A team of scientists from Himachal Pradesh-based Shoolini University have been offered a grant through Microsoft Artificial Intelligence for Health Programme to conduct research on finding drugs to cure and prevent COVID19.

The project has been funded through High-Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium, and the team led by Dr Gurjot Kaur, Associate Professor, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will have access to Microsoft Azure credits for the next six months to perform work using Microsoft licensed resources, that is, online platform and virtual machines.

The team will perform much-needed screening of phytochemical constituents for anti-viral activity through interaction with COVID-19 specific targets using molecular modelling studies. Indian medicinal herbs have same or similar phytoconstituents and do show great promise as anti-COVID19 drugs. This project will directly influence the anti-viral drug development for COVID-19 and thus has high impact.

According to Dr Gurjot Kaur, the current number of infected COVID-19 patients is on a rapid rise. While the government has implemented social distancing and a month-long lockdown, these are not good long-term solutions for the spreading pandemic. A more viable idea would be to invest in the development of medicinal drugs both for prophylaxis as well as treatment of patients already infected with the virus.

Many existing anti-viral medications are being tried in the hope to slow or even cure the severely affected patients and thus, decrease the mortality rate. Unfortunately, none of the current medication strategies is optimum and vaccine development will take more than one year, she added.

Prof PK Khosla, Vice-Chancellor, Shoolini University, lauded the project undertaken by Dr Gurjot Kaur and said that the University would extend all its support for the project.

anti-viralCOVID-19High-Performance Computing ConsortiumMicrosoft Corporationphytochemicalsresearch grantShoolini University
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