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ORNL is in the fight against COVID-19

In the race to identify solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are joining the fight by applying expertise in computational science, advanced manufacturing, data science and neutron science.

Computational science. ORNL’s Summit, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, is accelerating COVID-19-related research through the new COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. At least 2,286,200 Summit node-hours have been allocated to 22 Covid-19 related projects to date. Twelve of these allocations are from the HPC Covid Consortium, of which we are a founding member. These computing allocations are aimed at  improving scientists’ understanding of the virus’ structure and biology with the goal of developing targeted therapies and vaccines.

Neutron scattering. ORNL is providing remote, rapid access to its advanced neutron source facilities, the Spallation Neutron Source and the High Flux Isotope Reactor, to support research related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the search for effective diagnostics and therapies, rapid access will be awarded for experiments to address necessary science and technical questions identified by the COVID-19 research community.

Advanced manufacturing. ORNL researchers are exploring efforts such as new designs for reusable masks and face shields and a breath-sampling whistle for at-home testing. This includes using additive manufacturing to significantly reduce tooling cost and production time; coordinating with both medical suppliers and the manufacturing supply chain to speed and expand production capabilities; and establishing plans to reverse engineer and rapidly manufacture and distribute tooling for critical components.

Pandemic modeling and analysis. Argonne, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories are collaborating to develop an integrated COVID-19 pandemic monitoring, modeling and analysis expertise, leveraging the labs’ collective scalable data and computing.

ATOM collaboration. ORNL is part of a multi-lab effort within the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine, or ATOM, consortium, a public-private partnership focused on dramatically reducing the time it takes to discover and develop new medicines through the application of leading-edge technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Many ORNL research projects studying COVID-19 are supported by the DOE Office of Science’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory with funding provided by the Coronavirus CARES Act.



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