Fujitsu, RCAST, University of Tokyo uses Fugaku to find drugs for COVID-19


Fugaku supercomputer, the most powerful computer in the world.

Image: Fujitsu

Fujitsu has announced that it will use Fugaku, the supercomputer developed by Fujitsu and Riken, to identify small molecule inhibitory compounds that could be used as potential drugs for COVID-19 treatments.

The project, which is being carried out in conjunction with the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST) and the University of Tokyo, will use drug discovery IT technology to elucidate the molecular mechanism that can inhibit COVID-19 infections the organizations hope the eventual development of small molecule therapeutic drugs for COVID-19.

Fugaku comes into play for this project to perform calculations to identify inhibitory compounds based on the dynamic behavior of viral proteins and to predict the properties of future mutations.

The supercomputer will also be used to carry out molecular simulations for viral proteins in order to identify inhibitory compounds that can lead to therapeutic drugs at an early stage.

“Because it is important to create a molecular structure that can bind strongly to the viral protein and control its activity, molecular simulation technology and fugaku are widely used for tasks including creating three-dimensional structural models that elucidate the molecular mechanisms of infection . ” Inhibiting and predicting the properties of mutated strains, “explained Fujitsu.

The project started this week and will run until March next year.

Fugaku, touted as the fastest supercomputer in the world, was jointly developed by Fujtsu and the Japanese scientific research institute Riken. While the delivery of the 432 racks from Fugaku was completed in May 2020, the supercomputer was not officially completed until March after seven years of development.

Since then, the supercomputer has been used to identify existing drugs that will help in the fight against COVID-19 in Japan.

The computer is now fully open for sharing, and the Japanese Information Science and Technology Research Organization (RIST) has already selected 74 research projects to be implemented.

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