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The march towards replacing animals in drug testing with computer simulations has made another significant step forward, with the development of new software which can predict the possible cardiac side effects of taking a new drug.

The “Virtual Assay” software developed by researchers at the University of Oxford uses computer (in silico) models, based on human data - a fast, cheap and potentially more effective alternative to experimental testing.

Rather than a one-model-fits-all design, this software uses a population-based approach, which is an important step towards personalised medicine. Indeed, some drugs can have harmful side effects only for certain parts of the population, for example, causing arrhythmias or sudden cardiac death in people with a specific genetic mutation or disease. 

Find out more (University of Oxford website)