The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine announced on Tuesday that a team of researchers was awarded approximately $1.6 million to develop treatments for the parasitic disease leishmaniasis.
The award, which was given by the CRACK IT Challenges program, will be used by a team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of York and the University of Glasgow in a computer-based "virtual laboratory." The computer model the team will further develop is intended to predict the efficacy of drugs, vaccines and other treatments for leishmaniasis.
"We are working to discover and develop new drugs for treatment and control of one of the most important infectious diseases of poverty," Simon Croft, the dean of the faculty of infectious and tropical diseases at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said. "This award from CRACK IT will help us to better predict which new drugs should be developed through a computational approach, which will significantly reduce the number of animals used in research."
Leishmaniasis, which causes painful skin ulcers, is spread by the bites of sandflies and is a public health problem in more than 90 countries worldwide.
The CRACK IT Challenges program is run by the United Kingdom's National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research.