Open drug discovery for the Zika virus

Sean Ekins, Daniel Mietchen, Megan Coffee, Thomas P Stratton, Joel S Freundlich, Lucio Freitas-Junior, Eugene Muratov, Jair Siqueira-Neto, Antony J Williams, Carolina Andrade
  • F1000Research, February 2016, F1000Research
  • DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.8013.1

Can Open Drug Discovery efforts contribute to a cure for the Zika Virus?

What is it about?

The Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in the Americas has caused global concern that we may be on the brink of a healthcare crisis. The lack of research on ZIKV in the over 60 years that we have known about it has left us with little in the way of starting points for drug discovery. Our response can build on previous efforts with virus outbreaks and lean heavily on work done on other flaviviruses such as dengue virus. We provide some suggestions of what might be possible and propose an open drug discovery effort that mobilizes global science efforts and provides leadership, which thus far has been lacking.

Why is it important?

We propose that in order to incentivize drug discovery, and SPEED UP research, a neglected disease priority review voucher should be available to those who successfully develop an FDA approved treatment. Learning from the response to the ZIKA virus, the approaches to drug discovery used and the success and failures will be critical for future infectious disease outbreaks. The impact of the Zika virus is unfolding dramatically and is expanding beyond South America.

Perspectives

Dr Sean Ekins (Author)
Collaborations in Chemistry

After watching the progression of the disease over a few weeks I wondered what we could do on the computational side. After a first blog I had responses by twitter and had reached out to a scientists who pointed me to the target I then modeled. that and a bit of digging on the virus became the foundation for the opinion. Once the draft was on Google Docs thanks to Daniel, we had a free flowing brainstorm with different perspectives. It quickly evolved. We probably could have kept editing for a while so it still has a rawness to it. Depending on reviewer comments we will see if it remains intact.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Antony John Williams, Dr Sean Ekins, and Dr Carolina Horta Andrade