Skip to main content

PRACE awards 195 Million core hours to further research into SARS-CoV-2

PRACE is joining the battle against COVID-19 by providing 195 000 000 core hours – to the first ten research projects awarded under the Fast Track Call for Proposals to support the mitigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The PRACE fast track call for proposals aims to speed up the process to find treatments for the current viral outbreak. PRACE is also helping to facilitate researchers' access to HPC resources through subsequent calls for more time on Europe’s top supercomputers.

There are currently no registered therapies for treating coronavirus infections. Because of the time-consuming process of new drug development, drug repositioning may be the only solution to the epidemic of sudden infectious diseases.


The studies awarded by PRACE independently analysed a number of proteins encoded by SARS-CoV-2 genes, compared them with proteins from other coronaviruses, predicted their structures and built 19 structures that could be analysed via homology modelling. Performing target-based virtual ligand screening, a total of 21 targets (including two human targets) were screened against compound libraries, including ZINC drug database and a database of natural products.

Some of the projects made the structure and screening results of important targets such as 3-chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro), Spike, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), and papain like protease (PLpro) visible. In addition, a database of 78 commonly used antiviral drugs, including those currently on the market and undergoing clinical trials for SARS-CoV-2, was constructed. Possible targets of these compounds and potential drugs acting on a certain target were predicted.

These projects will provide new lead compounds and targets for further in vitro and in vivo studies of SARS-CoV-2 (virus strain causing coronavirus disease COVID-19), new insights for those drugs currently undergoing clinical studies and also possible new strategies for drug repositioning to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections.

All this is possible thanks to one of the most powerful tools for finding possible medicines and inhibitors: virtual ligand screening and virtual drug design. Both techniques directly use supercomputer simulations, extreme-scale supercomputing simulations, that can only be performed on supercomputers with tens of thousands of cores. PRACE provides just such supercomputers to the research community.

With these powerful machines, the first 10 ‘HPCvsVirus’ projects will be realised. On this page you can read a summary of the work each project will undertake.


Read more about:

HPC, Covid-19

Media Partners