IBM said this week that it is providing free computational power for researchers at the University of Antioquia's Tropical Disease Study and Control program who aim to discover treatments for leishmaniasis — a parasitic disease that’s spread by sandflies.
The researchers will use IBM's World Community Grid to computationally test potential treatments to control the disease by exploring drugs currently used to treat similar diseases.
Specifically, they will screen 600,000 potential chemical compounds selected from an unnamed public drug database by testing them against 5,300 proteins found in Leishmania, the parasite responsible for the disease.
The team expects to complete its study in two years.
IBM's World Community Grid pools idle compute power from volunteers' personal computers for scientific research projects that address humanitarian challenges. It currently comprises more than two million individual computers.
In addition to compute time on the World Community Grid, IBM is donating a server and software licenses as part of the project.
The server runs the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing software, which has been used in efforts such as the Scripps Research Institute's [email protected] and the Genome Comparison project run by Fiocruz, a Brazilian foundation.