If You Have Been Looking for Fun Ways to Give Back and Help Researchers During the Pandemic, Test Your Scientific Skills by Playing This Virtual Game


No, you do not have to be a scientist to play this game.

An online video game called Foldit has you solve coronavirus puzzles and design proteins, and anyone can play it. You do not need to be a scientist or really know how proteins work. The game was created at the University of Washington’s Center for game science more than a decade ago but has recently attracted more players.

Foldit lets players twist and contort proteins in all different ways. Some of the contortions have a therapeutic value which raises a player’s score in the game, but also can have real-world implications for countering the coronavirus.

Once researchers map out a shape of the virus, they send a challenge to the players. The challenge is to create shapes that will latch onto the virus and cover it up, making a cellular break-in impossible. The researchers have recently selected 99 designs from players that are going to be turned into real-world proteins and put to the test against the actual virus.

Play along and follow Foldit on Twitter to get updates on the new proteins they are testing.