Treating those infected with COVID-19 is only half the battle. The other half is halting the spread of this deadly virus. The world’s fastest supercomputer is here to help our greatest minds put a stop the spread of COVID-19. This supercomputer recently highlighted chemicals that have the potential to stop COVID-19 from continuing its movement across the entirety of the globe. Slowing the spread of the virus makes it that much easier to treat infected individuals, ensuring enough medical facility beds and equipment are available in the months to come.
Can a Supercomputer Really Ameliorate Coronavirus Mitigation?
The novel coronavirus is spreading like wildfire, yet governmental response has been painfully slow. The pressure is now squarely on our medical community to ramp up research efforts. Thankfully, the world’s fastest computer is here to help. IBM’s fastest supercomputer, Summit, is equipped with what scientists call the “brain of artificial intelligence.”
Summit conducted thousands of simulations to identify specific drug compounds that have the potential to prevent the virus from compromising host cells. In total, the supercomputer identified 77 such drug compounds. This AI analysis is a significant step forward in the quest to develop a truly effective COVID-19 treatment. Details of the findings made by a research team at Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory were recently published in a chemistry journal dubbed ChemRxiv.
Summit is Here to Save the Day
The AI behind Summit was specifically designed to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges. Funded by the United States Department of Energy, the supercomputer has been in existence for a mere six years yet it is quickly proving capable of solving problems that confound our leading scientists. Equipped with 200 petaflops of power, Summit can process an incredible 200 quadrillion mathematical calculations in a single second. In other words, Summit is a million times more powerful than the world’s fastest notebook computer.
In the context of COVID-19, Summit is modeling how specific drug compounds have the potential to prevent the virus from moving to other cells. Summit has already accomplished the following feats:
- Pinpointed cellular system patterns that signify the onset of Alzheimer’s
- Accurately predicted harsh weather through in-depth climate simulations
- Conducted gene analysis to better understand specific traits such as the predisposition to opioid addiction
Summit is now tasked with identifying key drug compounds that have the potential to bind to the host cells infected by COVID-19 and halt the pathogen’s spread. Summit is simulating the manner in which particles within the viral protein react to specific compounds. The supercomputer conducted simulations of more than 8,000 compounds that might potentially bind with the protein spike and hinder its movement to host cells. Summit accurately identified 77 such compounds, even grading their efficacy in terms of binding capability.
Summit’s Findings Will Facilitate Subsequent Studies
Summit will continue to run additional simulations with even more accurate models of COVID-19’s spike. However, this supercomputer has its limitations. AI experts do not anticipate Summit alone will put an end to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, Summit is the initial step in the ongoing analysis of the pathogen, helping to reveal compounds that provide the most promise.
The next step is conducting experimental studies to determine which chemical is most suitable for mitigating COVID-19’s spread. The underlying hope is Summit’s findings will provide helpful information for subsequent studies, ultimately establishing a foundation for halting the spread of the virus. It is quite possible Summit’s amazing processing capability will highlight one or several compounds that have the characteristics necessary to stop COVID-19 from infecting even more people in seemingly every corner of the globe.