Morning all, remember the Vodafone DreamLab app? It’s been around for a while and has helped to fight cancer for many years. It does this by running on your phone while you’re sleeping – using the processor on your phone to help with big research projects.
The app has won stacks of awards, crunching through the huge volumes of health data that medical research generates. The more phones running the app, the faster this data can be processed and the quicker we can hopefully get an answer to medical issues.
Today it’s a biggy – the Vodafone Foundation and Imperial College London (the people who are advising our government right now) will be using the DreamLab app to speed up Covid-19 research. That, to be fair, is all you need to know. Go get it, right now. It’s available on the iOS App store or Google Play Store. Go now. Download it.
If you’ve already installed it previously, you can switch the project you’re contributing to…
Once you’ve done that, the app will use the collective computing power of all the smartphones it’s installed on to analyse complex data while you sleep. This will help scientists identify existing drugs and food-based molecules that may benefit patients. Vodafone are calling it the “Corona-AI Project” and the collective processing power will create a virtual supercomputer.
The more people that plug in, the quicker possible treatments will be found.
There’s two phases involved. The first stage will identify existing drugs and food-based molecules with anti-viral properties that may benefit those with Covid-19. The second stage will optimise combinations of these drugs and food molecules to provide potential drug treatments and nutritional advice.
Dr Kirill Veselkov from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, who is leading the research, told us..
We urgently need new treatments to tackle Covid-19. There are existing drugs out there that might work to treat it; and the great thing about repurposing existing drugs is that we already know they are safe and therefore could get them to patients quickly. However, we have to do difficult and complicated analyses using artificial intelligence and all of this takes a huge amount of computing power. DreamLab creates a supercomputer that enables us to do this important work in a relatively short timeframe.