Can Quantum Computing Cure COVID-19?

D-wave, a quantum computing company with headquarters in British Columbia, Canada, has given free access to their quantum systems for anyone who is working on the COVID-19 crisis. The organization feels that an effective response to COVID-19 requires worldwide collaboration, so the offer for free quantum computing resources is open to countries in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Computing researchers have aspirational ideas on ways in which quantum computing can speed up solutions to pandemics such as what we are experiencing now. Scientists believe that quantum computers can solve powerfully complex problems such as predicting disease spread and accelerating drug development. Therefore, the belief that quantum computing can prevent future pandemics is not far reaching. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, but certainly access to D-Wave’s Leap 2, their cloud service quantum resources, brings us a step closer.

In addition to access to Leap 2, D-Wave and its customers are also providing quantum engineering teams who can help non-experienced users develop solutions. Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic will be the spark that pushes quantum computing further along so that we may be better prepared for future disasters.

Researchers feel that as technology develops it may only take weeks or even days to create a vaccination or treatment for an epidemic such as COVID-19. They know that quantum computing has the ability to determine the patterns in which a disease spreads. This may help to accurately allocate not only medicine but also resources such as equipment and emergency supplies to the right locations at the right time.

Experts in the field believe that quantum computers can transform entire industries and accelerate global innovation. Quantum computing Is being looked at as the next age of technology by companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Airbus, HP, AT&T, and Honeywell. The pharmaceutical industry is leveraging quantum computers to analyze and compare compounds that could lead to the creation of new drugs.

The power that’s required to process data in some of these solutions is somewhat more than “basic” supercomputers can handle. But, even without quantum computing solutions, artificial intelligence (AI) Is being used to evaluate existing medicine and develop new vaccines to fight COVID-19.

Six months ago, we couldn’t imagine we’d be living through such times. But here we are, and as we fight COVID-19 with a sense of urgency, you can be sure that there are doctors and scientists who are already looking to accelerate research for technology that will prevent the next pandemic, and quantum computing will be how they find these new solutions.