NOV 12, 2020 6:59 PM PST

The Crossover of Virtual Reality and Drug Discovery

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Researchers have recently developed a unique virtual reality (VR) tool that can help in drug development? Particularly, as the world goes chaotic to find treatments for COVID-19 caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. The new VR technique can identify a key predictor(s) of any drug’s effectiveness and enable scientists to model and collaborate. Findings of the study were published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling.

"We've shown that interactive virtual reality can model how viral proteins and inhibitors bind to the enzyme,” says Professor Adrian Mulholland from Bristol's School of Chemistry. “Researchers can use this tool to help understand how the enzyme works, and also to see how potential drugs fit into the enzyme. This should help design and test new potential drug leads. We are sharing these models with the whole community."

Learn more about the crossover of drug discovery and virtual reality:

Professor Mulholland added: "There are currently many efforts globally aimed at identifying drug leads for COVID-19. Our iMD-VR tools will be a valuable resource, enabling virtual collaboration for the international drug discovery community, helping to predict how potential drug leads bind to SARS-CoV-2 targets. An exciting aspect is that it also allows researchers to collaborate in new ways: using cloud computing, they can tackle a drug discovery problem together at the same time when in they are in different locations -- potentially even in different countries -- working simultaneously in the same virtual molecular environment."

"Computational modelling of how drugs bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein has been critical in advancing the global fight against the pandemic. Narupa takes that modelling to an entirely new level with molecular dynamics simulations in virtual reality," said Alison Derbenwick Miller, Vice President, Oracle for Research. "We are delighted that Oracle's high-performance cloud infrastructure supported the development of this innovative framework, and is now helping to advance globally-connected efforts to defeat COVID-19. Growing a connected community of cloud-powered researchers is exactly what Oracle for Research was designed to do."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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