An open source approach

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A project launched this week will use an open access database, Twitter, reddit and github for interested parties to find drug compounds to treat a devastating infectious disease

A new project has been launched by the University of Sydney, ErasmusMC and the Drugs for Neglected Disease Initiative to help find compounds that could lead to the treatment of fungal mycetoma.

Mycetoma Open Source (MycetOS) will look for new ways to treat the neglected tropical infectious disease, which causes devastating deformities by attacking the skin, deep muscle and bone.

The current antifungal treatment is reportedly expensive, toxic and ineffective, with only a 25-35% cure rate.

As a first step, the global scientific community has been invited to review a manuscript recently submitted with a full dataset to bioRxiv, an open access biology preprint server, for review and comment by interested parties.

The manuscript shares results of early work to screen 800 diverse, drug-like molecules for active compounds against the causative pathogen of eumycetoma.

MycetOS aims to progress drug discovery efforts through community-driven scientific contributions and a robust, fully transparent online presence.

All ideas and results will be published in real time to an open-access database, while communications will run via Twitter.

A dedicated subreddit forum will also be used for interactive discussions, while GitHub will be used to share data and key project files.

“We invite anyone interested to review not only the manuscript but also the dataset, and to join this Open Pharma drug discovery project for mycetoma,” says Dr Mat Todd, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney.

“Forward movement of the work looks to the participation of interested researchers and others. This is already happening successfully with a previous Open Pharma project, Open Source Malaria.”

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