The Union Government launched Drug Discovery Hackathon here today in the presence of Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhanand Union Minister for Human Resource DevelopmentShri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. This Drug Discovery Hackathon is a joint initiative of MHRD’s Innovation Cell (MIC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and supported by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), MyGov as well as private players.
Minister of State for HRD Shri Sanjay Dhotre, Principal Scientific Advisor Prof. VijayRaghavan, DG CSIR, Dr.ShekharMande, Chairman AICTE, Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, President, Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) Prof. B Suresh and Chief Innovation Officer, MHRD, Dr. AbhayJere were also present during the online launch program.
This Hackathon is first of its kind National initiative for supporting drug discovery process and will see participation from professionals, faculty, researchers and students from varied fields like Computer Science, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Medical Sciences, Basic Sciences and Biotechnology.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister for S&T said, “We need to establish the culture of Computational Drug Discovery in our country. In this initiative, MHRD’s Innovation cell and AICTE will focus on identifying potential drug molecules through the Hackathon while CSIR will take these identified molecules forward for synthesis and laboratory testing for efficacy, toxicity, sensitivity and specificity.” Pointing out that drug discovery is a complex, expensive, arduous and time-consuming process, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “While we pursue clinical trials of few repurposed drugs for COVID-19, as they are faster and can quickly be launched, it is also important that we find other suitable repurposed drugs while at the same time continue working on new drug discovery to develop specific drugs against COVID-19”. He added, “in-silico drug discovery which utilizes Computational methods such as Machine Learning (ML), AI and Big Data will help in accelerating this process”.