HELSINKI, Dec. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In light of the recent developments of vaccines for Covid-19, it begs the question; the next time the world is facing a new virus outbreak, could we stop a pandemic in its tracks?
Healthcare systems were proven to be woefully underprepared for a global pandemic. Experts at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland believe in future, quantum computing could help to minimize the impact of epidemics or pandemics.
Antti Vasara, CEO of VTT, believes quantum computing could accelerate the development of breakthrough drugs and vaccines by modelling molecules.
"Modelling complex protein and drug molecules is difficult due to their large size and complex interactions - even today's supercomputers cannot create precise molecular simulations. But - as molecular structures are determined by the laws of quantum mechanics, a large quantum computer has the potential to model their structure and activity much more precisely and rapidly - in minutes rather than weeks or months," he says.
What are quantum computers?
Quantum computers can complete in seconds what could take modern supercomputers thousands of years to process.
Quantum computers use the properties of quantum physics to store and process data. A unit of memory is a quantum bit or qubit, and a series of qubits can represent different things simultaneously. This means quantum computers can consider a large number of possible combinations at the same time - such as finding the best route between two places.
While still in early stages, quantum technology is developing at a rapid pace.
Is Finland leading the way?
The Finnish government has already allocated funds for building the foundation for a quantum ecosystem and acquired the first quantum computer in Finland - making it the first Nordic country to do so.
IQM Finland recently announced it has raised EUR 39 million in its latest round of funding and is growing what is already the largest industrial quantum hardware team in Europe. IQM was also recently announced as VTT's partner in building Finland's first quantum computer.
Director in Health, Minna Hendolin from Business Finland said: "With exceptionally good cooperation across the public and private sectors, a strong culture of trust, 100% coverage of health data and citizens having access to universal healthcare – Finland is well positioned to explore the benefits of new technologies in a crisis such as a new disease outbreak."
SOURCE Business Finland