Gamers Make Breakthrough in Aids Research
The collective minds of a group of video game enthusiasts have solved a question about an AIDS-related enzyme that has long stumped virologists.
Players of the online game Foldit have helped discover the structure of an enzyme that had the scientific community stumped for a decade, representing a significant step forward in attempts to cure retroviral diseases like AIDS.
The enzyme, a Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) retroviral protease, was accurately modeled by Foldit players in just three weeks, and opens the door to development of antiretroviral drugs. Foldit makes use of players’ 3D puzzle-solving abilities and competitive nature to solve problems that computers alone have been unable to do.
Firas Khatib, of the university’s biochemistry lab, said:
“We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed. The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”
I can’t help but point out how gamers are looked at with negative stereotypes in this world. To think that this group of “do nothings” and “lazy bumbs” who sit around and play games all day, has effectively saved the lives of millions of people, doing something that scientist haven’t been able to do for years. Well done!