The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire planet, and researchers continue to investigate its catalyst: the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants. Discovering variants of concern (VOCs) quickly can save lives by giving scientists time to develop effective vaccines and treatments — but existing variant-tracking methods can be slow. A team of researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, along with university and industry collaborators, tackled the problem of tracking virus variants by using artificial intelligence (AI). The powerful Polaris supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), which is enabling science in the runup to the Aurora exascale system, enabled the research with help from Cerebras' AI-hardware accelerator and NVIDIA's GPU-accelerated Selene system. Polaris is equipped with GPUs and with workload orchestration by Altair® PBS Professional®. The project team won the ACM's prestigious 2022 Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research. The results the Argonne researchers and their collaborators have achieved paves the way for faster, more detailed insight into the virus mutation process, enabling scientists to act on emergent variants and develop ammunition to reduce severity and slow the spread, ultimately saving lives.