Folding@Home, a computing project that uses distributed processing power to find cures for dangerous diseases has announced that it is now working towards finding the answer to defeat the coronavirus. This information comes via My Broadband.
The Stanford University project relies on the donated and volunteered computing power from PC and laptop users around the world to speed up its technology which is aimed at learning about protein folding. Viruses, like the much-maligned COVID-19, are protein-based and by finding new information about protein folding, you likewise discover insights about viruses and perhaps even how to stop them.
COVID-19 infections first start in the lungs, when a protein on the surface of the virus called the “spike protein” binds to a receptor protein on one of the cells of the lungs.
“Proteins are not stagnant,” says Folding@Home, “…they wiggle and fold and unfold to take on numerous shapes.” The software is aiming to understand this process in protein and expect these changes.
“We need to study not only one shape of the viral spike protein but all the ways the protein wiggles and folds into alternative shapes in order to best understand how it interacts with the ACE2 receptor so that an antibody can be designed,” says the project.
With this information, the project can model the structure of the COVID-19 spike protein and therefore find sites that can be targeted by therapeutic antibodies.
The Folding@Home software uses the unused processing power of home PCs to run the software complex and power-consuming protein folding simulations in order to determine how viruses and other diseases can be combated.
PC gamers, especially those that consider themselves owners of any sort of high-end rigs are especially useful to the processing power-sharing software thanks to the raw horsepower of their hardware usually aimed at running the latest and greatest games with as much visual acuity and as low frames-per-second as possible.
The dedicated graphics cards of high-end rigs can contribute as much as 20 or 30-times more processing power than standard CPUs to the protein folding simulation.
Users like the idea of helping in the race of finding a cure and want to lend their processing power to Folding@Home only have to download their software from their official website.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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