Supercomputers Join COVID-19 Fight
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit all industries hard with even…
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit all industries hard with even the ‘recession-proof’ wedding industry taking a beating. In light of this, major events and film releases have gotten postponed or have been suspended. “Due to the health crisis and the development of the French and international situation, the Festival de Cannes will no longer be able to take place on the dates planned, from May 12 to 23,” the official account of the Cannes Film Festival tweeted.
Organizers are still holding out hope that the prestigious fest can be held at a later date. In a statement, organizers said they were considering “several options” to hold the event, “the main one being a simple postponement … until the end of June, beginning of July 2020.”
Social distancing has been recommended in a bid to flatten the curve and halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Now, Firstpost reports that researchers are using the IBM-built supercomputer Summit to scan thousands of molecules in a bid to find compounds that could be used in the creation of a vaccine to battle the novel coronavirus.
The results of the study were published in the journal ChemRxiv and revealed that the supercomputer identified 77 chemical compounds.
Now, a virus affects the host cell by injecting it with a spike of genetic material, reports Firstpost and what Summit is doing is finding drug compounds that could possibly help bind that spike and hence, halt the spread. “Using Summit, we ranked these compounds based on a set of criteria related to how likely they were to bind to the S-protein spike,” University of Tennessee (UT)/ORNL CMB postdoctoral researcher Nicholas Smith said, according to ZDNet.
“Our results don’t mean that we have found a cure or treatment for the Wuhan coronavirus,” added Jeremy Smith, governor’s chair at the University of Tennessee and director of the UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics.
“We are very hopeful, though, that our computational findings will both inform future studies and provide a framework that experimentalists will use to further investigate these compounds. Only then will we know whether any of them exhibit the characteristics needed to mitigate this virus.”