New Delhi: Indian scientists have mapped the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome, a first of its kind achievement that gives hope of discovering a cost effective drug for the disease that kills at least 330,000 Indians every year.
"Our scientists along with over 100 science students from several universities have done this within a few months. We hope within 18-24 months we will be able to take one molecule to the clinical trial stage," Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) chief Samir Bramhachari told IANS.
"I am too excited. What we have not done so far has been achieved. I thank all those students who have helped it become a reality. We are doing this through open source drug discovery (OSDD) and anyone across the world is free to join the effort," Bramhachari told IANS.
Scientists said that though 1.7 million people die of TB every year globally, there has not been any new drug discovery for last the four to five decades.
"OSDD is a completely new formula across the world. Here we are making all our progress available to public. Anyone can take advantage and develop a drug based on our research. The aim here is not patents but drug discovery for a neglected disease," said Rajesh Gokhle, a senior scientist associated with the project.