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

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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.