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Three Useful Ways to Fight Boredom, Coronavirus During Self-Isolation

Three Useful Ways to Fight Boredom, Coronavirus During Self-Isolation

Wednesday, 1 April, 2020 - 04:45
Foldit is an online game that lets players collaborate and compete in predicting the structure of protein molecules. Photo: Foldit
Cairo - Hazem Badr

As people try to maintain social engagement during self-isolation, citizen science offers a unique opportunity to fight boredom.

Citizen science is a scientific research conducted in whole or in part, by amateurs and experts. Today it is studying new methods to help people cope with the new situation created by the coronavirus.

On Monday, the Science Alert website cited several options through which people can help experts in tackling COVID-19.

The first option is by playing Foldit, an online game designed in 2006 by researchers at the University of Washington. It challenges players to fold proteins to better understand their structure and function. The Foldit team is now challenging citizen scientists to design antiviral proteins that can bind with the coronavirus.

Back in 2006, Foldit players had discovered a protein structure that may help form an important area in Alzheimer's research known as "plaque". Now, scientists hope players' efforts would help provide a better understanding of the novel coronavirus.

To motivate participants, the game developer plan to offer those with the highest scores the chance to manufacture and test their projects. Through this opportunity, Foldit offers a creative tool that could eventually contribute to a future vaccine for the virus.

The second option allows people to track the influenza infection by partaking in the online surveillance project FluTracking. By completing a 10-second survey each week, participants will aid researchers in monitoring the prevalence of flu-like symptoms across Australia and New Zealand. It could also help track the spread of the coronavirus and its influenza-like symptoms.

The third option is designed for people who tested positive to coronavirus so they can help researched while in quarantine. PatientsLikeMe, allows patients to share their experiences and treatment regimens with others who have similar health concerns. This allows researchers to test potential treatments more quickly.

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