How to beat the Coronavirus with a game

So, you are probably wondering:
“Can I help solve the COVID-19 crisis by playing a game in my underwear?”

The answer to that question is yes, yes you can!

The good people over at the University of Washington have created a new puzzle game that challenges scientists and the public to build a protein that could block the virus. The game is on the Foldit platform; a free and open-source experimental research project developed to take advantage of humans puzzle-solving intuitions.

Humans still retain an edge over computers when it comes to complex problems that require intuition rather than brute calculation. This, combined with the distribution of the internet, can create a human “supercomputer” solving the most complex problems in biology today.

So let’s dive right into it and start playing for the good of all mankind!

In this game, the player creates or modifies proteins that can bind to one of the coronavirus “spike proteins,” this prevents it from infecting human cells and replicating. The most promising solutions players figure out will be manufacture d and tested by the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design in Seattle.

Click here to go to the Game-information page, create an account and start playing.

Despite it’s technical and research-focused origin, the game is pretty simple to play, you mainly just focus on moving structures and earning points. You click on a section of the protein and drag it to change its shape to try and match the puzzle’s goal. You earn points based on efficiency and effectiveness, and the results are tracked in an in-game scoreboard.

Do your part, for science!

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