Thursday, 28 January 2010

Republic Day special: Freedom to Discover - Open Source Drug Discovery gives a new direction to Indian Republic

2010
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Jan 25: Have an idea? No matter who you are. Contribute your idea and get credit points from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Your idea could bring down the cost of medicine by at least 50 per cent.
As India celebrates its 60th year of Republic, every person, irrespective of his social and professional background, gets the freedom to discover. Discovery of novel drugs and scientific research is no longer the prerogative of laboratories and universities. Those who could not become scientists or researchers can now realise their dreams, sitting at home or office.
Thanks to the Open Source Drug Discovery project launched by the CSIR, even those who are not connected to science and technology can contribute their ideas and research on select projects. The project could be drug discovery or improvement, decoding the secrets of genes, unravelling the mysteries hidden behind diseases or study of pathogens.
"Universities, students, scientists - almost anyone, who wants to solve challenging problems in drug discovery or are ready to share their time/resources are welcome to participate in this initiative," says the CSIR

initiative.
OSDD is a CSIR Team India Consortium with global partnership to provide affordable healthcare. According to eminent biotechnologist from the USA, Dr DR Krishna, "it is really a novel initiative where the best minds can collaborate and collectively endeavour to solve the complex problems associated with discovering novel therapies for neglected tropical diseases including malaria and TB".
The CSIR initiative is indeed a gateway to discovery as it provides a unique opportunity for scientists, doctors, technocrats, students and the general public with diverse expertise to work for a common cause.
The Central government has allotted Rs 150 crore for the project. "An idea, software, data, an article or molecule(s) that help in expediting the process of drug discovery will be treated as a contribution under OSDD," said senior scientist Dr M Khwaja.
The CSIR has fixed certain credit points for certain tasks. Based on the contribution one makes, he or she will get credit points and they continue to add up to the score. The participants will get blue, silver, gold or platinum cards and the points they earn are added to their unique account.

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