IT Infrastructure: IBM Blue Gene/Q Supercomputer Helps Medical Researchers Fight the Common Cold
Researchers in Melbourne, Australia, are now simulating in 3D the motion of the complete human rhinovirus (HRV)the most frequent cause of the common coldusing Australia's fastest supercomputer, an IBM Blue Gene/Q. A new antiviral drug to treat rhinovirus infections in development at Melbourne-based Biota Holdings targets patients with medical conditions whose health or lives could be threatened if they are exposed to the common cold. In conjunction with researchers at the IBM Research Collaboratory for Life Sciences–Melbourne, scientists from St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research and the University of Melbourne are using information on how the new drug works to create a 3D simulation of the complete rhinovirus on IBM supercomputing technology. To help pave the way for new drug development, researchers are working to build a fully atomistic, 3D simulation of HRV. According to IBM, these calculations are the first to include not only the 3 million-plus atoms of the rhinovirus capsidor outer shelland their aqueous environment, but also the virus' ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome, that packet of genetic information necessary for the virus to replicate. Here, eWEEK takes a look at how these technologies are used to fight the common cold.