“An international research effort to identify potential drug compounds to combat the Zika virus is being launched on a tech platform that turns a network of volunteers’ personal computers, as well as Android mobile phones and tablets, into a virtual supercomputer that can speedily process millions of calculations.
“The #OpenZika project, which will run virtual experiments on potential compounds that could form drugs to address Zika, is just the latest health-related research project by IBM’s World Community Grid.
“That platform, after a dozen years of operation, has almost 750,000 people and 470 institutions across 80 countries who allow researchers to tap their 3.5 million computers and mobile devices for latent processing power. The World Community Grid has been used to research diseases including malaria, Ebola, tuberculosis and childhood neuroblastoma, along with others.
“Volunteers download a World Community Grid app to their computer or devices, which allows researchers to run calculations on the devices, without their owners’ users noticing a difference in performance. Data generated from the #OpenZika project will be available to researchers, on an open-source basis, around the world.
“’When people hear about a crisis like this, they want to do something about it,’ said Stanley Litow IBM’s vice president of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM’s Foundation.
“’Here’s an opportunity for them to really do something about it, and also to be connected’ to other people who are helping fight Zika, Litow said of the grid, a philanthropic initiative by IBM that more than a year ago added Android mobile devices to its network.”