Healthcare is an essential component in all human beings’ lives as each individual wishes to have a happy, healthy, and wealthy lifespan. A team led by Prof. Gajendra P. S. Raghava has developed a collation of computational tools that could be beneficial for biologists and non-biologists.
The recent review published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery throw light on how computational resources play a vital role in healthcare. The Healthcare sector became more digitalized and advanced due to the evolving informatics-based fields like medical informatics, bioinformatics, cheminformatics, pharmacoinformatics, immunoinformatics, and clinical informatics. These domains generate a huge amount of biological and clinical data, such as electronic health records, biomedical images, and genomics. Globally, several researchers are developing various tools, software, and methods that can compile, store, annotate and analyze generated data and make it approachable.
“In the present scenario, there is a limited number of open-source software than commercial ones available for scientific and academic purposes. Our group is adherent of public domain software and thus initiated a web-portal Computational Resource for Drug Discovery (CRDD), an important insilico module under Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD). The ideology behind this is to promote the open-source/ freeware software”, said Gajendra P. S. Raghava, Professor, and Head of Department of Computational Biology at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, New Delhi.
The advanced review entitled “Computational Resources in Healthcare” focused on summarizing various freeware and open-source computational tools widely implemented in different healthcare sectors. This study revolves around some major areas of healthcare like drug discovery, vaccine design and development, biomarker discovery, and Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare.
“Drugs play an important role in treating any disease,” says Neelam Sharma from IIIT Delhi and one of the first co-authors of the paper. The drug development process is a time-consuming and costly affair, and thus a number of resources have been developed to facilitate it. In this study, the authors have summarized major resources commonly used for drug discovery.
“To fight any disease, one should have strong immunity, and vaccines play an important role in boosting it,” says Dr. Naorem Leimarembi Devi from IIIT Delhi and one of the first co-authors of the paper. The use of vaccines has efficaciously controlled contagious diseases like polio and smallpox. The conventional approach for vaccine development is a tedious process; thus, computational tools and databases make it easier to overcome the shortcomings and enhance the possibility of discovering potential vaccine candidates.
Several tools and databases are available for the identification of disease biomarkers which aids in disease diagnosis. Besides this, IoTs is an emerging field that has completely transformed the healthcare industry by bringing patients, doctors, and hospitals together. “IoT-based healthcare systems include mobile apps (AarogyaSetu), wearable devices (Fitbit) and telemedicine (eSanjeevaniOPD) has revolutionized the healthcare facilities and management,” says Satakshi Gupta from IIIT Delhi, one of the authors of the paper.
The researchers have further compiled all the computational resources related to healthcare in a single health portal named “PHI: Portal for Health Informatics,” accessible at https://webs.iiitd.edu.in/. The overall aim of this web portal is to help scientific and non-scientific communities working in the healthcare sector to have a glimpse of a wide range of open and freely available resources.
About Prof. Gajendra P.S. Raghava
Prof. Raghava is a Professor & Head at Department of Computational Biology, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-Delhi), India. Before joining IIIT-Delhi in 2017, he was working as Chief Scientist at Bioinformatics Centre, CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, India. He did M.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.), New Delhi in 1986 and Ph.D. in Bioinformatics (1996) from IMTECH, Chandigarh. He worked as Postdoctoral fellow at Oxford university, Oxford and European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge UK (1996-98). Worked as Bioinformatics specialist at UAMS, USA (2002-3 & 2006) where he establish bioinformatics infrastructure.
Prof. Raghava has published more than 250 research papers in reputed journals with average impact factor around 4.0 Most of papers are highly cited, total citations nearly 20,000 with h-index 73 and g-index 195 as per google scholar.
Prof. Raghava is a strong supporter of open source software and open access, all resources developed at his group are free for scientific use. His group developed more than 250 web servers and 40 databases in the field of computer-aided drug/vaccine design (probably highest number of services developed/maintained from a single group in the world). These services are heavily used by scientific community, nearly 150,000 hits per day.