Infectious Diseases

The Worlds Most Powerful Computer helps Tackle Coronavirus

Posted on 19 March 2020

IBM’s ‘Summit‘, the worlds most powerful supercomputer, has been recruited in the fight against the coronavirus.

The supercomputer covers a space the size of two tennis courts and can run 200 quadrillion calculations per second, roughly a million times more than the average household laptop.

Researchers have used Summit to screen more than 8000 potential drugs in the hunt to find an effective treatment against the virus that has put the world at a standstill. Ranging from herbal medicines to approved drugs, these compounds have already undergone trials to show they are safe to consume by humans.

Using the genome of the coronavirus, now known as SARS-CoV-19, as well as it’s similarity to severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, the supercomputer whittled down the list to just 77 potential treatments.

Virologists at the University of Tennessee Health Science Centre are now running the compounds through animal trials to determine their efficacy. If any are deemed successful they will move straight into the clinic, to help treat the sick.

As of yet, there are no known treatments for the coronavirus. The race to find one is becoming ever more crucial.


  1. The World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer Has Entered the Fight Against Coronavirus. OneZero.

  2. Complete Genome Sequence of a 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Strain Isolated in Nepal. American Society for Microbiology. DOI: 10.1128/MRA.00169-20.

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