You can help find a drug that could knock out the Zika virus, while you're playing Candy Crush on your smartphone.
An international research effort to identify potential drug compounds to combat the virus is being launched on a tech platform that turns a network of volunteers' personal computers, as well as Android mobile phones and tablets, into a virtual supercomputer that can speedily process millions of calculations.
The #OpenZika project, announced Thursday, will run virtual experiments on potential compounds that could form drugs to address Zika. It's the latest health-related research project by IBM's World Community Grid.
After a dozen years of operation, the platform has almost 750,000 people and 470 institutions across 80 countries, allowing researchers to tap their 3.5 million computers and mobile devices for latent processing power. The World Community Grid has been used to research diseases including malaria, Ebola, tuberculosis and childhood neuroblastoma.
Volunteers download a World Community Grid app to their computer or devices. That allows researchers to run calculations on the devices, without their owners noticing a difference in performance. Data generated from the #OpenZika project will be available to researchers on an open-source basis around the world.