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Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

COVID-19: Understanding the genetic variation.

COVID-19: Understanding the genetic variation.

COVID-19 has molecular structures that are both unique and similar to other viruses; we know for example that COVID-19 varies from region to region like the f...

GOAL

$20,000

australia > VIC > both
22/07/2020 > 20/06/2021

FIELD OF INTEREST

  • Tackling Inequality - Health and wellbeing
  • Tackling Inequality - Public policy / research / advocacy

TARGET POPULATION

  • General population
  • People with a disability, illness or disease

PROJECT SUMMARY

COVID-19 has molecular structures that are both unique and similar to other viruses; we know for example that COVID-19 varies from region to region like the flu and mutates at about the same rate as the flu. The ability to rapidly recognise virus strains, analyse them and provide insights to guide effective personalised patient treatments is fundamental to the fight against COVID-19, particularly for the development of resistance resistant drugs and ultimately a vaccination.

Our Computational Biology and Clinical Informatics lab has developed a unique platform for rapidly characterising the literally millions of potential consequences of mutations on patient treatment and management. This platform is being used to map the genetic changes being observed in COVID-19 around the world, and in particular what the potential consequences these might have on ongoing drug and vaccine development. Using these insights, the platform can shorten the process of designing new drugs and vaccines that will be less likely for COVID-19 to develop resistance against.

We are seeking support to enable us to develop a database of predictive and analytical computational tools, accessible to researchers globally to help guide their drug and vaccine development. In order to develop this invaluable resource, we need to purchase molecules, including drugs that are already FDA approved, that our platform has identified as likely to be effective treatments for coronavirus to test and confirm this.

PROJECT OUTCOMES

With a large amount of COVID-19 data available there is huge potential to revolutionise and personalise treatment approaches, but we need fast, scaleable and accurate ways to process and interpret all this information. Computational biology (using large data sets) is emerging as a superior way to solve key medical issues as it can lead to much more rapid discovery of effective treatments and therefore improvements to health. Computational methods offer ways to systematically, and in an unbiased fashion, explore every possible mutation and its susceptibility to drugs in a far shorter timeframe than otherwise, and without prohibitive expense.

The Baker Institute’s Computational Biology and Clinical Informatics lab’s unique platform has proved to be the most effective tool developed to date to predict the efficacy of treatment and identify likely disease and drug resistant mutations before they arise.

This project’s aims are to build on the success of the platform to:
1. Test and confirm the efficacy of drugs identified by the platform as likely to be effective treatments for COVID-19; to:
2. Develop an open source database, available to researchers across the globe, which uses predictive and computational analytical tools to guide drug and vaccine development.

Once we have completed the tests and analyses of drug efficacy on COVID-19, and the database has been finalised and launched online, then this project’s aims will have been achieved.

We predict that this database holds the potential to assist in developing effective treatments for COVID-19 and its various mutations, saving thousands of lives throughout the world.

Profile of Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

The Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute is an independent, internationally renowned medical research facility, at the forefront of medical research for more 93 years. Our work extends from laboratory to wide scale community studies with a focus on diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Our mission is to help Australians live longer, healthier lives by personalising medicine for heart disease, diabetes and related health disorders.

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

TOTAL BUDGET: $120,000
FUNDING
Funding sourceAmount
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute$100,000
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$20,000
EXPENSES
Expense itemAmount
Research Scientist - Early Career Annual Salary$100,000
Molecules for analysis$20,000

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