Gamers, Now With More Helping Cure AIDS

September 19, 2011


Computer gamers have scored a decisive victory in the fight against AIDS after successfully unraveling the structure of a protein that helps viruses like HIV multiply using a competition-based game called Foldit. The hope is that with the structure now known, scientists will be able to determine where to best target the protein for the insertion of virus-crippling drugs. SHOOT FOR THE THERMAL EXHAUST PORT!

Pharmacologists need a 3-D picture that "unfolds" the molecule and rotates it in order to reveal potential targets for drugs.

This is where Foldit comes in.

Developed in 2008 by the University of Washington, it is a video game in which gamers, divided into competing groups, compete to unfold chains of amino acids - the building blocks of proteins - using a set of online tools.

To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks.

It is believed to be the first time gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem.

High-five, gamers! I'm actually about to get the platinum trophy for Fallout 3 tonight, so I know what it feels like to...write something completely unrelated and sound like a bragging @$$hole. It feels good. YOU CAN'T KEEP ME DOWN!

Online gamers crack enzyme riddle [abcnews]
U.S. Gamers Crack Puzzle in AIDS Research that Stumped Scientists for Years [foxnews]

Thanks to Orcbutt, Adrian J, Amber, comfort eagle, FloorMatt, Bradley and Mitchell, who've all cured thousands of hours of boredom with video games.

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