As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, the fastest supercomputer in existence has identified several chemicals that can possibly stop the virus from infecting the body.
Summit, made by IBM, is currently the world’s most powerful non-distributed computer system. According to a news release, researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory used the supercomputer to initiate thousands of simulations with the aim of finding drug compounds capable of stopping the coronavirus from infecting host cells.
One step closer to the cure
The work appears to have paid off as it succeeded in finding 77 matches. Despite the findings, however, researchers are quick to note that they haven’t found a cure yet. The journey is still far from over as vaccines for the COVID-19 are still under development.
According to Jeremy Smith, director of the University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the results are not a confirmation that a cure has been developed.
“Our results don’t mean that we have found a cure or treatment for the coronavirus,” the director said.
Trials from other countries in testing the effectiveness of a vaccine, particularly in the UK, will start next month.
Summit is designed to solve the world’s problems
Back in 2014, Summit was commissioned by the University of Tennessee to solve the world’s problems such as finding cures to incurable diseases. The IBM-developed supercomputer managed to find patterns in cellular systems prior to Alzheimer’s. It also analyzed several factors that lead to opioid addiction.
Summit is not only used for health reasons. The supercomputer, which uses powerful AI, predicted upcoming extreme weather conditions by studying several climate simulations.
COVID-19 cases still on the rise
The number of COVID-19 victims is still going up with Italy surpassing China in the number of casualties. The number of cases rose to 41, 035 on Thursday with the number of deaths rising to 3,405. Europe is now considered as the epicenter of the pandemic according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
As of today, there are now 297,457 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus around the world, according to the COVID-19 monitoring website. The number of deaths is reportedly 94,584.
By country, China still has the most total number of cases (81,008), though state media has been reporting no new cases for the past several days. Germany, Iran, Italy, Spain, and the United States all report more than 20,000 cases each and those numbers are expected to continue to climb.
On a positive note, 88,483 people have managed to recover from the illness worldwide.
To prevent the further spread of the disease, WHO has released precautionary measures that individuals can do regularly.
Washing of hands regularly is advised and social distancing is encouraged especially for people who cannot self-quarantine. This means that a space of at least one meter is required between people.
Images courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Johns Hopkins, Pexels.com.