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A team of scientists from the University of California, San Diego have identified more than two dozen “novel and promising” compounds that could give rise to new bird-flu drugs.

The mathematical calculations involved in the research were so complex that scientists had to run their data through a supercomputer — a machine that is top-of-the-line in its processing capacity and unmatched in its speed of calculation, according to a news release put out by the university today.

Researchers have been worried that if there is a global outbreak of bird flu — properly called avian flu — existing anti-flu remedies could fail to be effective because some strains of the virus have already developed a resistance to them.

“If those resistant strains begin to propagate, then that’s when we’re going to be in trouble, because we don’t have any anti-virals active against them,” Rommie Amaro, a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry at UCSD, said in the release.

The newly-identified compounds appear to be equal or, in some cases, better at inhibiting the virus than available remedies are, experts said.

The research is on its way to the laboratory, where the compounds will be tested against the virus.

— DARRYN BENNETT

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