Healthcare :: New online database to help fight infectious diseases

An international network of researchers announced the release of a new web-based resource designed to facilitate the development of medicines to fight infectious diseases afflicting the developing world.

The Drug Target Prioritization Database may be accessed at

“This is the first time that any group has assembled such a comprehensive set of information pertinent to drug target discovery, for such a diverse array of parasitic and bacterial diseases,” says Dr. Wesley Van Voorhis from the University of Washington in Seattle, who coordinates the Drug Target Prioritization Network, established in 2005 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical diseases (TDR) of WHO.

The consortium includes a global team of academic laboratories, research centres and industry scientists, focusing on the pathogens responsible for malaria, tuberculosis, African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and worm infections such as schistosomiasis and filariasis — all of which are in desperate need of new treatments.

Together, these diseases are responsible for billions of infections in the developing world and more than six million deaths per year. Since poor countries often don’t have the funding or infrastructure to support health research and drug development, new collaborations like this one are working to improve the situation, providing a resource that brings together scientists from all over the world.

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