Army Research Institute, SwRI Partner on COVID-19 Treatment R&D Initiative


The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research partnered with Southwest Research Institute in Texas to utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning and high-performance computing to detect compounds that could target the novel coronavirus, Nextgov reported Thursday.

WRAIR’s Experimental Therapeutics Branch and SwRI applied the latter’s AI-based approach to identifying molecules that can bind with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and prevent its attachment to cells.

The partnership also worked with researchers for the Department of Defense’s HPC Modernization Program to deploy supercomputers capable of rapidly screening large amounts of compounds with COVID-19 drug treatment potential.

Maj. Brandon Pybus, director of WRAIR's experimental therapeutics unit, said his team accomplished a rapid scan of 41M compounds and downselected 13 for further assessment.

“What we saw is that—like we had hoped—it did really enrich the hit rate, which shaved a tremendous amount of time, years, off the front end of the drug discovery development,” Pybus told the publication.

Pybus added that it took “a whole-of-government" approach for the research and development effort and that the team is “very open” to collaborations that would further quicken the discovery of possible COVID-19 treatment options.

You may also be interested in...

Paul Dillahay President

NCI Partners With Mercyhurst to Advance AI Platform; Paul Dillahay Quoted

NCI Information Systems has entered an academic partnership with Mercyhurst University to advance NCI’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology for the federal government. “We’re excited to work with Mercyhurst University to further augment the NCI Empower AI platform,” said Paul Dillahay, president and CEO of NCI and a 2020 Wash100 Award recipient.

James McFadyen VP

Former Leonardo DRS Exec James McFadyen Joins Fairbanks Morse as Aftermarket Business Lead

James McFadyen, formerly a vice president at Leonardo DRS' naval power systems group, has been named VP and general manager of the aftermarket business at Fairbanks Morse.

NuScale Power small modular nuclear reactor plant design

Fluor Plans to Support NuScale Reactor Project Through Potential $1.35B DOE Funding Vehicle

The Department of Energy has cleared a funding vehicle worth potentially $1.355B for a public power consortium-led project that includes construction of a small modular reactor plant by NuScale Power, which Fluor holds a majority stake in. Fluor said Monday it plans to support Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems and NuScale in establishing a clean-energy SMR system through UAMPS' Carbon Free Power Project.