Chemical Engineering Researchers and Chemists are currently looking to use virtual reality technology to develop new drugs and fight some of the world’s most deadly diseases.
What is happening?
- Researchers are using the virtual reality technology used in the popular video game Fortnite to visualize and develop the structure of complex molecules.
- The tool being used, called 4Sight, has previously been used to create a drug (currently under development) that is now been used to treat addiction.
- Other researchers are currently using this technology to develop drugs that will be used to treat other serious ailments like cancer and Parkinsons.
Why is Virtual Reality good for drug development?
The main element in designing a drug is to find the right shape for the molecules to fit inside the targeted protein pocket. If the researchers get the shape wrong, the molecule will fail to attach or even lodge in a different pocket. This will cause side effects.
The use of VR technology like 4Sight allows the drug developers to grab hold of virtual molecules and see how they move and respond to stimuli.
VR enables scientists to visualize unique 4-D data which measures space and time as well as length, width and depth and allows accumulated data to be presented on small drug molecules.
The VR technology will help in reducing the margin of error during the drug discovery process and will enable scientists working from different locations to work together on drug models in the same virtual room.