A new app is tapping into the power of smartphones to power a virtual supercomputer calculating suitable antiviral solutions to address the coronavirus.
Developed by Imperial College London and the Vodafone Foundation Australia, the DreamLab app has been originally designed to beat cancer.
Today, a corona-themed project launched to the app across Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Romania and the UK. It will be available in Portugal, Ghana, South Africa, Lesotho, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Turkey and Albania later this spring.
The DreamLab uses artificial intelligence to create a network of smartphone to power a supercomputer which processes billions of data points to find suitable treatments for diseases, in the latest case Covid-19.
At no point is user data collected or shared.
There are two phases to the project with Phase 1 identifying existing antiviral drugs and foods, while Phase 2 aims to improve selection of compounds and foods that are specifically suitable to fight coronavirus.
“We urgently need new treatments to tackle COVID-19,” said Dr Kirill Veselkov at the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London.
“There are existing drugs out there that might work to treat it, but we need to do complex analyses using artificial intelligence to find out which molecule or combinations of molecules might be able to disrupt the virus when it’s inside the body. All of this takes a huge amount of computing power and DreamLab enables us to do this important work in a much shorter timeframe.”
The app is available for free download and doesn’t eat into the data allowance of users.