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Tapping Computing Power

Supercomputers are joining the effort to uncover or develop drugs that might stop or slow the COVID-19 pandemic, NPR reports.

Earlier this week, the White House announced the establishment of a COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to bring government, industry, and academic partners together to apply computing resources to combat COVID-19.

"We know that high performance computing can reduce the time it takes to process massive datasets and perform complex simulations from days to hours," Mike Daniels, the vice president for the Global Public Sector at Google Cloud, which is part of the consortium, says in a statement. "We look forward to participating in this initiative … [to apply] computing capabilities toward the development of potential treatments and vaccines."

NPR adds that researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is also part of the consortium, are using computing power there to search for already developed drugs that, based on their structures, might interact with SARS-CoV-2. Those findings, it adds, can then be handed off to researchers like University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Colleen Jonsson to screen whether those drugs prevent cells from becoming infected with the virus.