Coronavirus: Using European supercomputing, EU-funded research project announces promising results for potential treatment*

_coronavirus_

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


EU-funded consortium Exscalate4CoV has announced that an already registered generic drug used to treat osteoporosis, Raloxifene, could be an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients with mildly symptomatic infection. The consortium is using an EU-backed supercomputing platform, one of the world’s most powerful, to check the potential impact of known molecules against the genomic structure of coronavirus. This is one of many examples of how the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 is bringing together the best of European researchers, pharmaceutical companies, technologies and research infrastructures to contribute to defeating the virus.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: ”Today, we need science more than ever. Since January we have mobilised all our efforts to support R&I actors in their respective fields to find solutions and stop the virus. This is why we have provided Exscalate4CoV with €3 million to fund their research, and I welcome the promising results they have achieved.”

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, said: “The Exscalate4Cov platform brings innovation to drug discovery in Europe and worldwide. It demonstrates the value of true pan-European cooperation by joining the best capacities Europe has to offer in the fields of biomedical science and high-performance computingWe will continue to mobilise all technologies available, including artificial intelligence, to fight the coronavirus.

Exscalate4CoV, using a unique combination of high performance computing power and AI with biological processing, brings together 18 partners and further 15 associated members. This includes supercomputing centres in Italy, Spain and Germany, large research centres, pharmaceutical companies and biological institutes from across Europe. The platform has around 120 Petaflops computing power, allowing research into the behaviors of molecules with the aim of identifying an effective treatment against coronavirus. The project’s chemical library is constantly growing thanks to agreements with newly associated pharmaceutical companies.

The consortium has already virtually tested 400 000 molecules using its supercomputers. 7 000 molecules were preselected and further tested “in vitro”. Raloxifene emerged as a promising molecule: according to the project, it could be effective in blocking the replication of the virus in cells, and could thus hold up the progression of the disease. Researchers have indicated that its advantages include its high patient tolerability, safety and established toxicological profile.

As a next step, the consortium will be discussing with the European Medicines Agency how to advance to clinical trials to evaluate the new potential use for Raloxifene. If successful, the drug could be quickly made available in high volumes and at low cost.

Background

Using a European supercomputing platform, one of the world’s most powerful, Exscalate4CoV is able to perform in weeks a screening process that with traditional techniques would take many years. In a first step it has so far identified 6 out of 25 different protein models of the novel coronavirus that are constantly evolving, with various mutations received weekly, which are translated into a digital form for use in the next step. The second step is to match the digital structure of coronavirus proteins against the available library of molecules. In the third and final step, the identified molecules undergo several additional biological screening operations in laboratories located in Belgium and Germany to understand how an identified molecule interacts with the virus model and to assess the degree to which it can stop its activity.

In the next phase, the project will enlarge the above tests by considering an extended library of 5 million molecules, out of the 500 billion molecules it disposes. It is expected that further potential molecules will be identified and contribute to an effective overall treatment of the disease.

Exscalate4CoV is one of 18 research projects awarded a total of€48.2 million, from a recent EU emergency call on coronavirus research, to work on preparedness and response to outbreaks, rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests, new treatments and new vaccines. The work of the Exscalate4CoV consortium was made possible by €3 million of emergency EU funding as part of the EU coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the project has gained support from companies in the pharmaceutical industry who provide it with drug samples via its biology DrugBox open platform.

In the period 2014-2018, the EU has invested more than €600 million in high performance computing from Horizon 2020 and the Connecting Europe Facility. In 2018, the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking was established, a €1 billion joint initiative between the EU and 32 European countries to develop a world class supercomputing ecosystem in Europe.

On 4 May, the Commission pledged €1.4 billion in total during the Coronavirus Global Response pledging event, of which €1 billion comes through Horizon 2020 and is aimed at developing vaccines, new treatments and diagnostic tools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Since January 2020, the Commission has mobilised a total of €547 million under Horizon 2020 for the fight against coronavirus.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

REACT-EU: EU support to mitigate immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis

Korea must enhance detection and reinforce sanctions to boost foreign bribery enforcement

Draghi hands over to banks €77.7 billion more

Here’s the secret to financing a greener future

Why EU’s working and unemployed millions remain uncertain or even desperate about their future

Companies that put employees first perform better

38th ACP-EU Assembly: dialogue on cooperation challenges in Kigali

Privatization as a symptom of health inequity

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

To beat hunger and combat climate change, world must ‘scale-up’ soil health – UN

In visit to hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, UN chief calls for greater action to address climate change

Trade with the United States: Council authorises negotiations on elimination of tariffs for industrial goods and on conformity assessment

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts

Why developing new antibiotics is a matter of life and death

7 shocking statistics that show the cost of corruption

Lithuania finds the ways to maintain its energy security

Migration crisis update: The “Habsburg Empire” comes back to life while EU loses control

Under fire, UN refugee agency evacuates 135 detained in Libya to Niger

State of the Union 2018: The Hour of European Sovereignty

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

Infrastructural and system barriers to Universal Health Coverage: get in my patient’s shoes

Some truths about the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization

Visa-free access to the EU for UK nationals and to the UK for EU nationals

Improving Italy’s capital market will boost growth opportunities for Italian companies and savers

Cyber-Risk Assessments: the vaccine for companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

These Asian economies invested in their people – and it paid off

Progress made at COP25, despite lack of agreement to increase climate ambition

4 innovation hotspots in the Arab world

This Scottish forest is both a home for wildlife and a boost for the local economy

EU mobilises immediate support for its Western Balkan partners to tackle coronavirus

Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit to differ when issued from 10 Downing St.

“There are many converging visions and interests between the One Belt One Road initiative and the Juncker Investment Plan”, Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU highlights from Brussels

Humanitarian aid: EU steps up support in Nigeria for conflict victims

The EU Commission openly repudiates the austere economic policies

No hard drivers in sight to remodel the stagnating affairs of the EU

Chart of the day: These countries have the highest share of electric vehicles

Successful carbon removal depends on these 3 conditions

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

“Is Europe innovative? Oh, Yes we are very innovative!”, Director General of the European Commission Mr Robert-Jan Smits on another Sting Exclusive

UN must bring more women police officers into the fold to be effective – UN peacekeeping official

The Free World Experience Report – LGBTQI+ health on the spot

Trump badly cornered at home by agribusiness and steel consumer lobbies: Trade

ZTE @ MWC14: ZTE excels in all areas at this year’s Mobile World Congress

Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism

Syria war: executions condemned as violence continues ‘on both sides’ of border with Turkey

This UK footballer just won free school meals for kids in the summer holidays

MWC 2016 LIVE: Zuckerberg warns mobile industry not to ignore the unconnected

CO2 emissions around the world

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Topic: Mental Health in times of pandemic: What can each individual do to lessen the burden?

25 years on from landmark conference, millions of women and girls still in danger: UN deputy chief

Nigeria: UN chief ‘appalled’ by killing of aid worker; calls for release of remaining hostages

How a new approach to meat can help end hunger

Why social working cultures are happier and more productive

EU: Divided they stand on immigration and Trump hurricanes

TTIP: why it is worth not to pull the covers over your head?

Leading Palestinian legislator calls for ‘new international engagement’ in two-state solution

UN mosquito sterilization technology set for global testing, in battle against malaria, dengue

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s