A hub for gene therapy, Children’s National Medical Center has partnered with technology giants to rapidly analyze large data sets in a bid to find genes that target diseases including SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19. By leveraging the cloud-based on demand compute power of Amazon Web Services, the quest to identify how various drugs target and affect select genes leads them toward a list of potential drugs to repurpose in treating various viruses, including COVID-19.
Recently, AWS held a Public Sector Summit, and obviously COVID-19 was a high focus. SiliconANGLE Media’s Stu Miniman was able to interview Wei Li, principal investigator for the Center for Genetic Medicine Research & Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at Children’s National Medical Center.
Connecting the Data
As researchers have used established screening methods, such as CRISPR, to investigate viral infections (HIV, Ebola, influenza and now SARS-CoV-2), the team at Children’s National Medical Center sought out to connect various data sets associated with these endeavors all in one unprecedented scalable computing environment. This has enabled the group in Columbus, Ohio to assess whether “20,000 human genes are connected with some certain disease phenotype in one single experiment.”
For the most latest initiative, Li reports that the team’s primary objectives, including 1) identify gene targets, 2) candidates exhibit broad antiviral activity, and 3) applicability to target COVID-19.
Wei Li, principal investigator for the Center for Genetic Medicine Research & Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at Children’s National Medical Center
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