First-Ever Computer Model Of COVID-19 Virus Created By Scientists

The model is envisaged to help in drug creation and mutation tracking.

According to a study published recently in Biophysical Journal, the first computer-based model of the entire virus, which is truly functional, has been created and made widely available to aid research going on the virus globally.

Understanding how something works is the very first step required in curbing it. As per Professor Gregory Voth, each and everything is known regarding the virus’s cycle and composition is instrumental in hitting the vulnerability point and removing it.

Using their experience of discerning every characteristic of the COVID-19 virus, Voth and his team at the University of Chicago focused only on more important aspects. This gave them space to construct a model that is simple enough to run on a computer.

Viral particles are colorized purple in this color-enhanced transmission electron micrograph from a COVID-19 patient in the United States. Computer modeling can help epidemiologists predict how and where the illness will move next.

Although viruses, compared to other biological entities, are relatively simple but creating a computational system that can model the virus is quite challenging, specifically given that the need of the hour is to understand how the virus behaves in a host body scenarios are innumerous. By creating this model, Voth and his team have overcome a critical challenge in health research required to beat COVID-19.

As per Voth, an atom-level model of the actual virus can be run, but its computation is challenging. The model has to run for more than a few hundred nanoseconds to find the most useful information.
Owing to this limitation, researchers have stressed more on making models of virus-based on discrete proteins. And although there are certain benefits of taking that approach, Voth, a computational scientist, is also a Haig P. Papazian Distinguished Service Professor of chemistry, says that the piecemeal approach does not show the big picture. Also, given that viruses are a holistic thing and just looking at some parts in isolation will not be sufficient to observe the overall behavior.

The mode has been developed with the expectations that it will support drug development across the globe and provide useful insights into the mutations. At the time of writing this article, the virus is easily available for anyone to download. It is sincerely hoped that it will enable the world to fight the pandemic.

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