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= Citizen Science project in the field of biology , now also used to find solutions to Covid-19 crisis




"Foldit is an online video game that challenges players to fold various proteins into shapes where they are stable. Generally, folding proteins allows scientists (and citizens) to design new proteins from scratch, but in the case of coronavirus, Foldit players are trying to design the drugs to combat it. “Coronavirus has a ‘spike’ protein that it uses to recognize human cells,” says Brian Koepnick, a biochemist and researcher with the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design who has been using Foldit for protein research for six years. “Foldit players are designing new protein drugs that can bind to the COVID spike and block this recognition, [which could] potentially stop the virus from infecting more cells in an individual who has already been exposed to the virus.”

First released in 2008, Foldit grew out of an experimental research project developed by the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science along with the Department of Biochemistry. Foldit’s “coronavirus puzzle” is the game’s 1,808th ever. Players—who can work alone or in teams—are using the game’s puzzle system to develop new protein structures that can be tested by biochemists in the lab for use in antiviral drugs."

2. Dave Munger:

"turns proteins of scientific interest into increasingly complex puzzles that players can solve. Huge, complicated proteins are the building blocks of life; scientists and medical researchers are increasingly looking to protein synthesis as a way to cure disease, scrub pollutants from the air or water, or create new biofuels. Users compete to predict the tertiary structure of such proteins—how a protein’s chemical makeup causes it to fold in on itself—in order to help scientists find new protein functions.

The game starts with simple puzzles that replicate the structure of proteins, but gradually gets more complex. Ultimately the researchers behind the project hope to show that humans playing these games are better than computer simulations at predicting the structure of proteins. I didn’t get very far in this game, however: As the proteins got more complex, the program became progressively less stable on my computer (a Mac). But thousands of users have downloaded the game and have already made real progress solving thorny biochemistry problems." (


"An online game has helped determine the structure of an enzyme that could pave the way for anti-Aids drugs.

The game, called Foldit, allows players to create new shapes of proteins by randomly folding digital molecules on their computer screens.

In the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, scientists write that they have been puzzled by the protein's structure for over a decade.

But it took the online community just a few days to produce the enzyme's model.

Proteins are extremely complex organic compounds that everything is made of, and an enzyme is a particular type of protein.

The enzyme the gamers were presented with is called M-PMV retroviral protease - an enzyme that plays a key role in the development of a virus similar to HIV.

Scientists have been trying to determine its precise structure for years.

The result could be an important step forwards in the development of anti-AIDS drugs.

Following simple rules, gamers playing Foldit had to turn and flip a digital 3D model of the enzyme on their computer screens, to try out all folding combinations that were possible.

They eventually obtained the optimum one - the state that needed the lowest energy to maintain." (