IBM Cloud Community Grid Project Targets Zika Virus

Ralph Knotts

OpenZika allows users to contribute computing power to help identify anti-Zika drug candidates

IBM has invited users to join a community grid project aimed at finding drugs that could cure Zika, a virus linked to birth defects that has reached epidemic levels in South America.

Zika is spread by daytime-active mosquitoes and produces mild or no symptoms, but has been linked to birth defects in children whose mothers have been infected.

World Community Grid, founded in 2004 as a philanthropic effort, currently has more than 700,000 individual members and 470 institutional contributors across 80 countries, running more than 3 million computers and mobile devices, according to IBM.

Large-scale molecule screening

The screening results are then to be shared with researchers and the general public so that scientists can run laboratory experiments on the molecules, IBM said.

Other IBM technology has been used to help governments track disease outbreaks in areas such as Sierra Leone, the company said.

Last year IBM bought Chicago-based medical imaging company Merge Health for $1 billion £660m , in a move designed to help its new Watson-powered health analytics unit better collect and process medical data.

Ralph Knotts
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