Advances in drug development, diagnosis and epidemiology of neglected diseases

Cooperation Project 2

Coordinator: Prof. Cristiano Valim Bizarro

Advances in drug development, diagnosis and epidemiology of neglected diseasesNeglected diseases inflict impoverished people and are caused by infectious agents. It is estimated that 2 billion individuals are infected by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), and that schistosomiasis affects more that 200 million people. The dissemination of Mtb lineages that are resistant to existing drugs and the increased vulnerability of HIV+ individuals are among the main challenges in the fight against TB. This proposal is intended for researchers from PUCRS and partner institutions to join efforts in the development of drugs, diagnostic methods and epidemiological aspects of neglected diseases.

University of Queensland (Australia), Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani (BITS-Pilani, India) and the University of Newcastle (UK) are strategic partners in this project. We seek to continue with and expand the consolidated actions involving these partner institutions, including mobility of graduate students, researchers and faculty as well as the coordination of research activities and joint publications. Activities will be developed in four areas:

1) Development of new anti-TB agents through strategies of rational planning of drugs and phenotype screening. This area will involve PUCRS researchers who work at the National Institute of Tuberculosis Science and Technology (INCT-TB), which is coordinated by PUCRS.

2) Studies on psychosocial aspects that interfere in the epidemiology of AIDS in Porto Alegre and Greater Metropolitan Area. We intend to identify the barriers to the access of health services imposed on transexual women and males who have sex with other males (HSHs), resulting from discriminatory practices against sexual and gender diversity.

3) Development of new diagnostic methods for schistosomiasis to be used in low endemic areas. This actions seeks to (a) improve the helmintex method for detection of Schistosoma eggs (b) assess new monitoring strategies in low endemic areas and (c) increase the precision of geospatial analyses of risk distribution of Schistosoma infection.

4) Development and application of computational intelligence to the large scale development of molecular docking simulations of a totally flexible protein receptor against small molecules that are candidates to drugs.


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