Researchers explore Quantum Computing to possibly discover COVID-19 treatments

The Original Article was published in, by Sarah Small, Pennsylvania State University.
The picture is taken from this article from The Medium.

Quantum Computing is no doubt an emerging field, which combines both Quantum Mechanics and Machine Learning. However, no one would have ever imagined that such a field, which probably has no connection to medicine, is being used to find treatment methods of COVID-19 virus. Pennsylvania State University Researchers led by Swaroop Ghosh, the Joseph R. and Janice M. Monkowski Career Development Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering believe that this method could find a drug much quickly. The funding from Penn State Huck Institutes of Life Sciences is supporting their work.

“Discovering any new drug that can cure a disease is like finding a needle in haystack,” Ghosh said.

The current drug-discovery pipeline can take upto 5-10 years from initial idea to market approval stage, and costs a lot.

“High Performance computing such as Supercomputers and Artificial Intelligence can help accelerate the process by screening billions of chemical compounds quickly to find relevant drug candidates,” he said. “This approach works when enough chemical compounds are available in the pipeline, but this is not true for COVID-19. This project will explore quantum machine learning to unlock new capabilities in drug discovery by generating complex compounds quickly.”

Ghosh and his students have previously worked on developing a toolset for solving particular types of problems known as Combinatorial Optimisation Problems, using Quantum Computing. Drug Discovery is a similar problem, and hence they have been working on this with the same toolset they had already developed.

“Artificial Intelligence for drug discovery is a new area,” Ghosh said. “The biggest challenge is finding an unknown solution to the problem using technologies that are still evolving – that is, quantum computing in addressing a current critical issue and contributing our bit in resolving this grave challenge.”

The Original Article can be accessed here.