Folding@home now lets you help fight Coronavirus

Folding@home now lets you help fight Coronavirus

Folding@home now lets you help fight Coronavirus

At the start of this month, the Folding@home project announced that it was taking up the fight against Coronavirus, and now, PC gamers across the world can donate the power of their graphics cards to help combat COVID-19 and other major diseases. 

So far, six projects have been released for Coronavirus folding, which aims to help researchers understand how the virus interacts with the human ACE2 receptor, and how researchers can interfere with this to disrupt viral interactions with the human body. 

More projects related to Coronavirus will be released in the future, but for now, all projects are using Folding@home’s GPU-accelerated Core22 simulation engine. These projects are numbered 11741, 11742, 11743, 11744, 11745, and 11746; more information about these projects is available here.   

Below is what the Folding@home team had to say about these new projects on their latest blogpost. 

  

     This is an update on Folding@home’s efforts to assist researchers around the world taking up the global fight against COVID-19.

After initial quality control and limited testing phases, Folding@home team has released an initial wave of projects simulating potentially druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and the related SARS-CoV virus (for which more structural data is available) into full production on Folding@home. Many thanks to the large number of Folding@home donors who have assisted us thus far by running in beta or advanced modes.

This initial wave of projects focuses on better understanding how these coronaviruses interact with the human ACE2 receptor required for viral entry into human host cells, and how researchers might be able to interfere with them through the design of new therapeutic antibodies or small molecules that might disrupt their interaction.

In the coming days, we hope to take advantage of some of the new structural biology and biochemical data that is being rapidly released by researchers around the world who are working to understand these viruses and strategies for defeating them. This work has been largely disseminated by preprint servers such as bioRxiv and chemRxiv, which aim to make research rapidly available to both other researchers and the public for other scientists to broadly evaluate and immediately start building on. We have also forged several new collaborations with other laboratories where we hope Folding@home will provide valuable support in COVID-19 research efforts.

While we will rapidly release the simulation datasets for others to use or analyze, we aim to look for alternative conformations and hidden pockets within the most promising drug targets, which can only be seen in simulation and not in static X-ray structures. We hope that these structures—once validated by emerging compound screening data—could help direct the virtual screening campaigns or the targeting of new pockets for which atomistic structures were not yet available.

Below, we provide short descriptions of the projects. Note that all input files are being made available on GitHub here for other researchers to take advantage of:

https://github.com/foldingathome/coronavirus

This repository will evolve over the coming days as we add more projects and documentation. We will start posting datasets with structures on publicly available servers as soon as we have useful data to report.

All projects are using the new GPU-accelerated Core22 based on the open source OpenMM biomolecular simulation engine.

Folding@home now lets you help fight Coronavirus  
How can I help? 

Last week, we released a guide on how to start Folding using Windows-based PCs. While Coronavirus-related projects are all GPU-based, CPUs are useful for existing projects for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. 

At this time, you cannot dedicate your PC’s resources specifically to Coronavirus-related projects, but know that all of Folding@home’s projects are useful for disease research. 

For almost ten years, OC3D has hosted the Redline @ OC3D folding team (team number 98860). Those who are interested in folding should head over to our Folding@home subforum if you want to join the team or discuss folding with our active team members. 

You can join the discussion on Folding@home joining the fight against Coronavirus on the OC3D Forums.