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Supercomputer ‘Summit’ identifies 77 existing drugs that could tackle coronavirus

A supercomputer has identified 77 drugs that could provide a framework to help researchers find a cure for coronavirus. 

A huge IBM supercomputer known as ‘Summit’ was tasked by Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers with finding a potential cure to COVID-19. 

The study focused on the method the virus uses to bind to cells and searched for compounds that could prevent it from doing so.

Researchers in the United States say they now have a list of drugs that could work to bind to the virus and prevent it from injecting cells. 

The study concluded: ‘We hypothesize the identified small-molecules may be repurposed to limit viral recognition of host cells and/or disrupt host-virus interactions.’ 

Further experimental testing on the identified list of compounds is now required to determine whether any of them can be used to create a treatment for the virus. 

There is currently no vaccine or cure for COVID-19, which has killed 16,595 people and infected 383,944 globally. 

Co-author of the research Jeremy Smith said the supercomputer allowed the team to sift through a huge collection of data in a short period of time. 

‘Summit was needed to rapidly get the simulation results we needed. It took us a day or two whereas it would have taken months on a normal computer,’ Smith said. 

‘Our results don’t mean that we have found a cure or treatment for the coronavirus,’ he added.

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