IBM and Medical Researchers Launch Effort To Find Flu Drug Treatments
Lab tests may begin in just weeks as a result of World Community Grid
Researchers at the
According to the researchers, without access to World Community Grid’s virtual super computing power, the search for drug candidates would take a prohibitive amount of time and laboratory testing. Yet, over the next several months and years, researchers say they hope to identify candidates for clinical tests. The
“Because of the experience we gained with our dengue drug project running on World Community Grid, we expect to identify new influenza drug candidates to test in less than a month,” said Dr.
The joint project, “Influenza Antiviral Drug Search,” uses computer power from over one million devices registered and hundreds of thousands of individuals who donate their unused computer time for humanitarian and medical research.
Influenza claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year. The current H1N1 virus outbreak is a reminder of how quickly influenza mutates and how easily new strains of the virus emerge. New flu vaccines are needed every year because of the high rate at which the virus changes. Each year, new strains of influenza virus increasingly show resistance to available drugs.
World Community Grid will run virtual chemistry experiments to determine which of the millions of small molecules can attach to the influenza virus and inhibit it from spreading. The computer predication can then be tested in the laboratory and clinic, which are the next phases in developing drugs for the marketplace. All of the results will be made freely available to other researchers studying influenza.
“Influenza is one of the world’s most elusive viruses, and it has a deadly impact every year. Now anyone with a computer and Internet access can be a part of a global solution to address this very critical health concern,” said
To donate unused computer time to this project, individuals simply take a few minutes to register on www.worldcommunitygrid.org and install a free, secure, unobtrusive software program onto their computers. When computers are idle, for example when people are at lunch, their computers request data from World Community Grid’s server. These computers then perform drug discovery computations using this data, and send the results back to the server, prompting it for a new piece of work. A screen saver shows individuals when their computers are being used and helps them track the progress of the effort.
World Community Grid is the largest public humanitarian grid in existence, with an 415,000-plus members linking more than one million computers. However, this represents only a fraction of the estimated one billion computers worldwide that could be used for medical breakthroughs. If more computers were contributing to the effort, the research could progress faster and more research projects, even those requiring the largest supercomputers, could be added.
World Community Grid results include:
- Nutritious Rice for the World has already returned 12 million transactions and 11,000 years of compute time.
- AfricanClimate@Home just completed its data collection and research analysis will now begin.
- Help Defeat Cancer proved their more accurate technique for identifying cancer and received a
$2.5 milliongrant from NIH to further deploy its system.
- FightAIDS@Home has identified over 40 potential drug candidates and is proceeding with laboratory work on these. In addition, Scripps has also recently identified 12 compounds that are candidates to “bind” to a new site on one HIV “superbug”, strains of HIV that are now multi-drug resistant.
- Discovering Dengue Drugs Together has identified potential antiviral compounds and is continuing with laboratory work on those.
For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com.
Sandra Dressel IBM 914-499-6609 firstname.lastname@example.org