Volunteer for IBM to Help Find a Treatment for COVID-19

Volunteers simply download an app that runs in the background of their computer to perform small experiments.

Need to Know

  • IBM is calling for volunteers to help scientists discover life-saving chemical compounds that could treat COVID-19 — and all it takes is a computer with an internet connection.
  • Volunteers would download an app that operates in the background to perform small, virtual experiments.
  • The project is in partnership with Scripps Research, who have performed similar research projects on cases such as cancer, Ebola, and Zika.


IBM has announced a new initiative in which volunteers could help scientists discover chemical compounds that might be effective against COVID-19 — and all it takes is an internet connection. 

Using a PC, laptop, or Mac, volunteers will download an app that operates in the background and performs small, virtual experiments to identify chemical compounds that could potentially be used to treat COVID-19. Volunteers do not need to have any experience to participate; the process is automatic. Personal information is never shared and the app cannot access private information. 

The project is led by bioscience research group Scripps Research, and hosted on IBM’s World Community Grid, a free, crowd-sourced resource hub for scientists.

“IBM’s World Community Grid is a resource that not only empowers scientists to accelerate vital work on a large scale, but also gives volunteers a sense of empowerment, joining with others all over the globe to make a difference,” said Guillermo Miranda, VP and head of corporate social responsibility at IBM. “During a time of social distancing and isolation, this sense of purpose and interconnectedness is as important as ever.”

Called “OpenPandemics – COVID-19”, the project will be able to perform hundreds of millions of calculations needed for simulations that could help discover a life-saving drug to treat the novel coronavirus.

Over 770,000 people have participated in similar past research projects, for studies on cases such as cancer, Ebola, and Zika. 

In a similar call for volunteer support in treating COVID-19, Mount Sinai Hospital is seeking patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and have fully recovered. By testing the blood of those patients, researchers can measure their antibody levels and, if recovered patients have a high level of antibodies in their plasma, can potentially donate blood to treat seriously ill patients.

Sign up for IBM’s new initiative here.