Protein puzzle game finds 99 ways to beat virus

Protein structure
This is one of the high-scoring protein designs that will be turned into an actual protein binder for testing as an coronavirus-blocking agent. (Stomjoh via Foldit / UW Institute for Protein Design)

Who would have thought a video game could identify potential treatments for COVID-19? Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design certainly thought so, and so far the game has produced 99 chances to win.

The game is a protein-folding puzzler called Foldit, which was created at UW’s Center for Game Science more than a decade ago and has attracted nearly more than 750,000 registered players since then.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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