Supercomputer analyzed Covid-19 and a new theory emerged
Earlier this summer, the Summit supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, USA, began processing data from more than 40,000 genes from 17,000 genetic samples in an effort to better understand Covid-19. The Summit is the second fastest computer in the world, but the process – which involved analyzing 2.5 billion genetic combinations – took more than a week.
When the computer completed its work, the researchers analyzed the results. It was, in the words of Daniel Jacobson, chief investigator of computer systems biology at Oak Ridge, what is called an “eureka moment”. The computer revealed a new theory about how SARS-CoV-2 affects the body: and there arose the hypothesis of the hormone bradykinin. The hypothesis provides a model that explains many aspects of Covid-19, including some of its most bizarre symptoms. It also suggests more than 10 potential treatments, many of which have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Jacobson’s group published the results in an article in the scientific journal eLife in early July.
According to the team’s findings, a SARS-CoV-2 infection usually starts when the virus enters the body via ACE2 receptors in the nose. The virus then continues its path through the body, entering cells in other places where ACE2 is also present: intestines, kidneys or heart. This explains, most likely, some of the cardiac and gastrointestinal symptoms of the disease.
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