A key to finding cures for viral diseases like COVID 19 is to understand how the proteins that build up the virus fold, that is, how the proteins get their three-dimensional shape.

Simulating a single virus requires an enormous amount of computing power.

But the Folding @ Home project gives us all the chance to contribute by letting our computers work when they do nothing else. All you have to do is download a program and let it run in the background.

Folding @ Home has already simulated Ebola and influenza viruses and now it time for COVID 19 to be analyzed.

Two weeks ago, Folding @ Home asked the public to download a program that runs in the background on ordinary computers and the response has been overwhelming.

In two weeks, 400,000 people have signed up for the project.

In total, their computers provide a theoretical computational capacity of 470 petaflops. By comparison, it is more than the world's seven most powerful supercomputers together.

The hope is now that the simulations will be able to detect weaknesses in COVID 19's "armor". It could give new ideas about which chemical compounds can give us really effective treatments.

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Warp News is run by the nonprofit Warp Institute, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden and Raleigh, North Carolina, United States.

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