The core business of the N.F. Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology (Gamaleya Institute) is to provide solutions for fundamental problems in the field of epidemiology, medical and molecular microbiology and infectious immunology. Analysis of the spread and epidemiological properties of extremely dangerous infectious diseases, investigation of the molecular bases for the development of the infectious process, investigation of common factors for the emergence and epidemiological evidence of nidi of human diseases, research into problems of general and infectious immunology, as well as the development of new diagnostic tools, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases all have a special place in this research.
For the purpose of modelling and computer testing of the pharmaceutical products under development, the Institute management took the decision several years ago to acquire a high-performance computer complex adapted for solving such problems. At the beginning of this year, the volume of the work performed in the cluster increased to such an extent that the capacity of computational nodes was not sufficient to tackle the problems set, so the decision was taken to upgrade it. As a result, the cluster capacity was doubled.
One of the main areas of research currently performed on the basis of T-Platforms cluster is for the creation of new drugs to treat chronic bacterial infections caused by chlamydia. Current well-known antibiotics are only efficient with respect to acute forms of chlamydiosis, while for chronic forms which cause the most common problem of developing serious complications that result in infertility, pregnancy failure and arthritis, there are no efficient therapeutic agents. The computation power of the cluster is used for simulation of chlamydia proteins, the target of future medication, as well as for carrying out virtual screening which helps select substances most capable of tackling the targets. To date, the first stage of screening has already been completed, and substances potentially capable of suppressing one of the main pathogenic factors of chlamydia have been selected. Some of them have already demonstrated their anti-chlamydia activity in vitro, and it is planned to expand the spectrum of tested potential inhibitors in the nearest future.
The basis of the modernised cluster of the Gamaleya Institute is a universal system T-Blade 1.1 with 10 computational nodes based on Intel Xeon X5670 processors. The peak performance of the cluster is 2.5 Tflops, while real efficiency demonstrated by the Linpack test exceeded 85%.
"About 100 million people all over the world develop chlamydia annually, while in Russia it is spreading at epidemic proportions. At the same time, between 50 and 80% of chlamydiosis progresses to chronic form", stated Nailya Zingangirova, the head of the chlamydiosis laboratory at the Gamaleya Institute. "In this regard, the task to develop pharmaceutical products to effectively tackle chlamydiosis becomes priority. Our research in this field required us to resolve the task simulating molecular dynamics and virtual screening of large databases of chemical substances. However, performing such calculations could take years and would require large investment. Now we have the possibility to significantly reduce the term and cost of research by replacing a significant part of laboratory experiments with computer simulation."
"Our company's computer complexes are successfully applied in biological and medical investigations by many scientific centres in Russia and abroad. Now, all the advantages of such systems have become available to scientists of the Gamaleya Institute working on solving a number of key problems in modern science", stated Vsevolod Opanasenko, General Director of T-Platforms.