March 22, 2020.
Supporting Medical Research
RJ Miller Building Professionals Inc. is supporting the Folding@home distributed computing project—that is working hard to develop new simulations of COVID-19 proteins—by donating idle computer time from its web and mail servers, and desktop computers. (The web site you are currently visiting is working away on medical research!)
If you're familiar with SETI@HOME, then you may already be familiar with what Folding@home is doing. It is a distributed computing project that simulates protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding, and the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases, using these new perspectives to discover new therapeutic opportunities. They are currently working on research related to COVID-19, and they have been so successful that they have already worked through their first round of simulation work queues.
Thanks to the world-wide computational support—provided by people like you donating some idle computer resources—Folding@home has made significant progress in understanding how the novel coronavirus proteins work, leading to possible therapeutic designs that may stop them. This is fantastic news.
How it works is incredible. Experimental methods only show a single view of a protein's shape, however they actually have a lot of parts that move, causing it to change shape. In order to better understand the virus protein, it is necessary to see it in action. The computer simulations virtualize how the atoms of the protein move in relation to each other, and this is what leads to discovering exploitable features, that are not available by any other means.
The project has had success with another virus, Ebola. It was able to simulate a protein from the Ebola virus, one that is considered by the scientific community to be "undruggable" because the existing "views" did not reveal obvious druggable points on the protein, called "sites." However, the simulations were able to uncover an alternative structure that was "druggable" and, more importantly, there were able to perform experiments to confirm the prediction. This greatly increases the ability to search for drugs that are compatible with these sites.
How You Can Help (Join Team 248340)
Run simulations of protein dynamics on your personal computer.
Everyday people can become citizen scientists by installing software on your computer to crunch numbers when it is not busy being your computer. Insights from data analysis done by your computer will help scientists better understand biology, and provide new opportunities for developing therapeutics.
Follow this link to learn more about how Folding@home is working to stop COVID-19, sign up, and download a small program for your computer. You're also invited to join team 248340 so we can work together; you can find this when you first configure your account with FaH.
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