Maria João Ramos, member of LAQV and Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, is the leader of a research project that aims to discover new drug molecules against the main protease of COVID-19. The project was the only Portuguese work approved by the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, which grants access to the world’s most powerful high-performance computing resources.
The main protease of COVID-19 is crucial for the replication of the virus in the human host. Therefore, the research team, which also includes Ana Novo de Oliveira e Pedro Alexandrino Fernandes, is working to provide detailed information on the catalytic mechanism of the main protease of the virus while giving a list of compounds with anti-COVID-19 activity. Maria João Ramos explains that her team “has been working on drug discovery for a long time, being a consultant for several national and international companies. Therefore, it is with enormous enthusiasm and dedication that our group is developing this project, which is particularly important for us given the threat to the public health that we are currently facing”.
The work has been developed with the support of IBM through the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) platform. IBM is part of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, which is a public-private initiative that brings together governments, industry, and academic leaders. With a total of 37 members, the consortium provides access to over 30 supercomputers with more than 420 petaflops, contributing to extensive research in areas like bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modelling to fight COVID-19.
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