International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) Lends a Hand To OpenZika Project To Help Fight Zika Virus
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) and medical researchers have come up with OpenZika project to try and accelerate experimentation of potential treatments for Zika virus. The move comes after the WHO declared Zika an international health emergency and the U.S. health authorities disclosed that Zika virus had so far infected over 500 people in the country.
Although Zika virus is rarely fatal, it has been linked a number of severe birth defects in babies including abnormally small heads and brain.
World Community Grid
The OpenZika project is an offshoot of International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM)’s World Community Grid, which boasts more than 750,000 individual members and over 470 institutions in about 80 countries. In the past, IBM’s World Community Grid has been used to combat other medical challenges such as researching treatment for malaria, tuberculosis and Ebola among others.
The OpenZika initiative is led by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil and the Federal University of Goiás. Other institutional participants include the University of California San Diego’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Rutgers University’s New Jersey Medical School.
Screening compounds for Zika drug
People can participant in the OpenZika project by donating space in their device to be used in the Zika treatment research or carry out virtual experiments for potential Zika drugs on supercomputers.
Volunteers who desire to allow researchers to tap into their devices to carry out tests for potential Zika treatment will download World Community Grip app and install it on their computer or handset. With the app, researchers can run research calculations on the device virtually without the owner noticing any adverse impact on the device’s performance.
The idea behind people donating computing power in their devices is to allow researchers to tap into supercomputers to speed up their research. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM)’s World Community Grip is always about trying to be faster than traditional labs in researching potential treatments. Given the devastation that Zika is already causing, there is even greater urgency in researching for the treatment for the virus.
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