World’s Fastest Supercomputer identifies chemicals with potential to stop COVID – 19
- Summit, IBM’s supercomputer equipped with the “brain of AI,” ran thousands of simulations (imitation of the operation of a process) to analyze which drug compounds might effectively stop the virus from infecting host cells.
- The supercomputer identified 77 of them.
- It’s a promising step toward creating the most effective vaccine. “It took us a day or two whereas it would have taken months on a normal computer”.
- SUMMIT was used to analyze a database of over 8,000 compounds that are known from existing drugs, chemicals, herbal medicines, and natural products.
- Its job was to find out compounds that appear to be capable of binding to the SARS-CoV-2 protein spikes, thereby blocking the virus.
- The drugs found will require extensive testing and clinical trials before it can be used as a vaccine.
- The compound, shown in gray, was calculated to bind to the CoV-2 spike protein, shown in cyan, to prevent it from docking to the human cell receptor, shown in purple
Previous achievements by Summit
- Summit has identified patterns in cellular systems that precede Alzheimr’s, analyzed genes that contribute to traits like opioid addiction and predicted extreme weather based on climate simulations.
Japanies Flu Drugs ‘ Clearly Effective In Treating Coronavirus, Say’s China
- Medical authorities in China have said a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in coronavirus patients.
- Favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients.
- In 2016, the Japanese government supplied favipiravir as an emergency aid to counter the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea.
The Ebola drug: Remdesivir
- Remdesivir was originally developed as an Ebola treatment, but the drug has emerged as a frontrunner among potential antiviral drugs to combat Covid-19.
- The drug works against SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), two other coronaviruses that are more lethal but less transmissible.
The anti-malaria drug: chloroquine
- Chloroquine is a cheap, widely available drug that has been routinely used since 1945 against malaria and other conditions.
- Doctors said 25% of patients who received the drug tested positive for the virus after six days, compared with 90% of those who did not receive it.
- WHO is also using it in clinical trials for COVID-19.
- Combination of medications lopinavir and ritonavir which are second-line HIV drugs.
- Both were discharged after testing negative twice for the virus, as per the established protocol.
- After positive outcome in Jaipur, 3 patients in Mumbai put on anti-HIV drugs. The Italian tourist who died in Jaipur was a 70- year-old chain smoker; he had tested negative for the coronavirus twice.
The government has revised its clinical management guidelines for COVID-19
- Lopinavir/ Ritonavir should ONLY be used with proper informed expressed consent on a case to case basis for severe cases.
How soon can a drug or a vaccine be expected?
- WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said: “if everything goes really well, we would probably have a vaccine in the next 12-18 months but even after that there would be the question of availability of sufficient doses. We are probably looking at an 18-24 month window for that.