Mangalurean Elston along with Australian researchers develops tool to outsmart coronavirus mutations

Media Release

Melbourne, Sep 15: A Mangalurean studying at the University of Melbourne has co-authored a new paper along with his team looking at COVID-19 mutations and how it impacts drug and vaccine development.

There has been much talk about drugs and vaccines in the fight against COVID-19. However, the goal that many scientists and drug designers wish to achieve is not only developing drugs or vaccines but ensuring that they work over time. 

Elston Neil D'Souza

Mutations are changes in the genetic code of the coronavirus that can sometimes reduce the efficacy of drugs or vaccines. Fortunately, while we know that SARS-CoV-2 mutates slower than flu, there are about two new changes in its genetic code every month, it is nevertheless very important that these drugs work despite these new mutations. 

Recently, research led by associate professor David Ascher and his team of biomedical researchers, have developed a new tool dubbed COVID-3D. 

They used the data from 1,20,000 coronavirus samples across the world to look at mutations and aid in the development of COVID-3D. This tool is an open and freely accessible web resource ( that can help researchers around the world to help develop drugs and vaccines that are effective. Dr Ascher is a world-leading expert in structural biology and advanced drug development, who holds positions at the University of Melbourne and University of Cambridge.

The youngest member of the team is 22-year-old Mangalurean Elston Neil D'Souza. Elston is the elder son of Vincent D'Souza, an ADNOC employee, and Cynthia D'Souza from Kulshekar Parish in Mangaluru. He studied in ADNOC Schools, Ruwais as a science student and graduated in 2016 before moving to Australia to pursue his bachelor's degree in computational biology at the University of Melbourne. Elston is currently a biomedical honours researcher at associate professor Ascher's lab. His parents along with his younger sister Elria are residing in Ruwais, Abu Dhabi.

As the global scientific and medical community continuously gains a better understanding of the biology behind SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease, it will become a powerful resource to guide the development of more tailored therapies.

More details available in the below publication

Nature Genetics Publication:

University of Melbourne:



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Comment on this article

  • Monica Valerian Dantis, Moorukavery, Muscat Oman

    Thu, Sep 17 2020

    “A talent is no talent, unless it is used for the benefit of other people.”
    ― Bryant McGill, Voice of Reason

    Dear Elston

    Hearty Congratulations dearest Elston. Very happy to hear your achievements.

    You made all of us proud. Working to help mankind is more than everything in this world. Love you loads. Congrats to VINCIN and Poly for encouragement, hardships and support. Your hardwork shines today. God bless💐😘❤️

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Derrick Serrao, ABU DHABI/Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 16 2020

    Congrats Elston! God bless you.
    And his proud parents Cynthia & Vincent!

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jessie D Souza, Mangalore/Sharjah,UAE

    Wed, Sep 16 2020

    Congratulations Elston and his team of researchers.
    May God guide you and your team in finding a solution to this pandemic.
    Indeed a proud moment for his family. Wish you all the best.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nelson DSouza, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 16 2020

    Proud moment. Wish my dad could also afford to send me to Australia to get my grad. Could have contributed as some warrior or the other.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 16 2020

    I join several others to congratulate this young man Elston on his initiative to combat the prevailing coronovirus problem

    This is indeed a great need and it looks as if he has a good team working with him.

    My good wishes go to Elston for the success of his mission.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Tue, Sep 15 2020

    Although I admire our own Mangalorean Mr. Elston Neil D'Souza......My only question is has the virus stopped its mutation since your vaccine development.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ajay Rebello, Kallianpur

    Tue, Sep 15 2020

    What we cannot do if these facilities were available to us here. Anyway congratulations and best of luck.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Sep 15 2020

    Congrats Elston! God bless you.
    And his proud parents Cynthia & Vincent!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse


Title : Mangalurean Elston along with Australian researchers develops tool to outsmart coronavirus mutations


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