Global Super Computer Grid to Fight Bird-Flu

The H5N1 virus transmission to humans has been observed since 1997, but the subtype N1 has been known since at least since 1918.

The N1 and N2 subtypes can evolve into variants under certain conditions as we have seen over the last few years.

The Bird-Flu virus has shown itself to be much more dangerous than we all thought it was.

It seems that the virus attacks multiple human organs and can even pass through the hitherto hard to breach barrier of the Placenta.

New data released last week by Peking University in Beijing, China, shows that the H5N1 bird flu virus can pass through the placenta of pregnant women to the unborn foetus, and can infect organs other than the lungs in adults

Amazingly there are still some people such as the journalist “What-Bird-Flu-Fumento”, who believe that no one should be doing any thing at all to prepare against the H5N1 virus!

However most of the serious scientific community is increasingly taking the threat from the H5N1 virus more seriously now.

There is now news of a combined effort from 45 countries to try and create an effective defence against the killer virus.


Last month a collaboration of European and Asian researchers launched a new attack against the deadly bird flu virus, harnessing the combined power of more than 40,000 computers across 45 countries to boost the pace of anti-viral drug discovery.

Called Enabling Grids for E-sciencE, the computing grid connects ordinary PCs to form a super-sized supercomputer that is being used during this challenge to analyse the potential of more than 500,000 drug-like molecules over the next few weeks.The EGEE Grid

Dr Ying-Ta Wu, biologist at the Genomics Research Center of the Academia Sinica, says 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.”

At the EGEE’07 conference in Budapest, Ulf Dahlsten, Director of “Emerging Technologies and Infrastructures” in the Information Society and Media Directorate-General of the European Commission, used the example of EGEE’s success with bird flu to illustrate the potential contributions of e-Infrastructures to science.

“Computer Grids have achieved a productivity increase of more than 6000% in the identification of potential new drugs” he said. “300,000 molecules have already been screened using the EGEE grid. Of these, 123 potential inhibitors were identified, of which seven have now been shown to act as inhibitors in in-vitro laboratory tests.”



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