I know, another Covid-19 article. Isn’t this supposed to be a geek culture blog filled with RPG news, shiny tech and anime reviews?
Yes, and that’s exactly what this article is about; shiny tech. Your shiny tech.
If you have a gaming computer, one that has lots of graphical power and clock cycles going spare – you know, because you leave it running when you’re not using it – then you can help process information about the virus.
This isn’t new. It’s just timely.
We need your help! [email protected] is joining researchers around the world working to better understand the 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to accelerate the open science effort to develop new life-saving therapies. By downloading [email protected], you can donate your unused computational resources to the [email protected] Consortium, where researchers working to advance our understanding of the structures of potential drug targets for 2019-nCoV that could aid in the design of new therapies. The data you help us generate will be quickly and openly disseminated as part of an open science collaboration of multiple laboratories around the world, giving researchers new tools that may unlock new opportunities for developing lifesaving drugs.
2019-nCoV is a close cousin to SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and acts in a similar way. For both coronaviruses, the first step of infection occurs in the lungs, when a protein on the surface of the virus binds to a receptor protein on a lung cell. This viral protein is called the spike protein, depicted in red in the image below, and the receptor is known as ACE2. A therapeutic antibody is a type of protein that can block the viral protein from binding to its receptor, therefore preventing the virus from infecting the lung cell. A therapeutic antibody has already been developed for SARS-CoV, but to develop therapeutic antibodies or small molecules for 2019-nCoV, scientists need to better understand the structure of the viral spike protein and how it binds to the human ACE2 receptor required for viral entry into human cells.
NVIDIA are helping to get the word out.
I’ve run these sort of programs before on my PC, albeit not recently, and they never caused any problems. I disable them when I’m about to do any gaming.
My individual contributions might indeed be tiny, but it helps battle the feeling of helplessness. More importantly, it’s the combined effort of the gaming community that starts to have an impact.
Coronavirus Tech Handbook
If you want to do more than donate PC clock cycles and you’re an organised and tech capable geek then Edward Saperia’s Coronavirus Tech Handbook is worth knowing about.
It’s a Google Doc in which you can contribute to if you have got a resource, a utility or technology that can help. Data journalism? This is your ticket.
There’s a supporting Facebook Group for the effort which, at the time of writing, has more than 900 members.
Covid-19 overload 😞
Is this the last Covid-19 article on the site?
I can’t say; if geeky conventions are called off, then I think it’s worth writing about to help spread the news. I know some people will be looking to escape from the headlines, and geeky topics might be the sanctuary, and so coverage will keep that in mind.
What are your thoughts? Strike up a discussion and leave a comment below.