Gamers Target Ebola
If you scan the headlines it reads like a page out of the Book of Revelations.
Maybe the next Darksiders can feature the Black Rider who spreads plague. In the real world our attention is being focused on outbreaks of Ebola in Western Africa.
The infection of missionary relief doctors who were brought back to the US for treatment is what brought the disease to the headlines but however it raises awareness that awareness is good.
Now scientists are working diligently to design proteins from the ground up to fight Ebola. Enter the puzzle loving gamers and Foldit, a project you may have heard of before. It crowd sources gamers to help scientists solve puzzles needed to create proteins helpful in treatments.
“We actually noticed that the scientists don't know where to start” when beginning to design a protein to counter Ebola, said Zoran Popovic, director of the Center for Game Science at the UW, which runs Foldit. “What Foldit is doing is creating three, four, five possible places to start from.”
Will gamers crack the code on Ebola? Perhaps, but the uses for digital entertainment just keep growing and we wish them well on their quest.
9/4/2014 David D. Nelson