With COVID-19, aka Coronavirus, it continues to spread at an alarming rate. Researchers are racing to be able to handle it. Including a group at Washington University in Seattle, they took a novel approach: a video game.
This game was first released in 2008, called Foldit. In it, players put proteins to understand their structure. What UW researchers say is the key to understanding how it works and targeting it with drugs. Now they have added a new jigsaw puzzle to the game based on COVID-19. As you would expect, given that the puzzle is currently without vaccines, the game presents a rather unique challenge.
“Coronavirus types display a protein that is rooted on their surface. They are closely linked to a receptor protein that is found on the surface of human cells. ”, Describes the puzzle. “In recent weeks, researchers have determined the structure of the protein that attaches to Coronavirus 2019 and how it binds to human receptors. If we can design a protein that binds to this protein on Coronavirus. It can be used to prevent interaction with human cells and prevent infection!”
Effectively, in most of the communities participating in Foldit, the puzzle was completed by researchers. And it achieved good results. According to the creators of the game, thousands of people are playing this game.
Especially when encountering problems that require visual methods or changing strategies. It is not known whether this will help fight the global pandemic. But it goes hand in hand with more traditional computer-based efforts like Folding. It’s like something for those with good thinking skills among us.
At least it can do something to aid in the fight against the infection. They have killed many of these people, most of whom are old or have compromised immune systems.