The Blueprint Initiative Asia Pte. Ltd. (Blueprint Asia), housed at the National University of Singapore, announced today that it is collaborating with the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases (NITD) to further the company's research into dengue fever, a debilitating infectious disease.
Blueprint Asia will assemble and curate known protein interactions relevant to the biology of the dengue virus, and will enter this data into the Biomolecular Interaction Network Database (BIND). BIND is a repository of biological data ranging from molecular interactions and small-molecule chemical reactions to interfaces from three-dimensional structures, pathways and genetics interaction networks...
"Our collaboration with NITD is consistent with Blueprint Asia's goal of facilitating research and drug discovery related to neglected diseases that burden the Asia-Pacific region," says Dr. Christopher Hogue, project leader and principal investigator of The Blueprint Initiative...
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection that causes fever and severe joint pain and, in more severe cases, can lead to hemorrhage, shock and ultimately death. Prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical regions, the disease affects 50 million people across five continents, and infection rates are increasing dramatically. A large proportion of the estimated 500,000 cases that require hospitalization each year are children.
Presently, there is no known cure or vaccine for this disease. In fact, vaccine and chemotherapeutic development are complicated by the need to develop therapies that protect against all four strains of dengue viruses, rather than just one.
"By examining information about dengue virus alongside other data in the BIND repository, NITD scientists will gain a better understanding of the dengue life cycle and of complex interactions with host proteins leading to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever," says Mr. Brian Yates, Managing Director of Blueprint Asia. "This information can then be used to develop drugs or vaccines to fight the disease."
The collaboration is also expected to help NITD researchers identify gaps in their information base, which could lead to the exploration of new avenues of research.