Amid the yelling, calling everyone who aren’t level 50 noobs and near endless stream of racial epithets, online gamers have finally done something good for a change – they’ve managed to collectively crack the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that has managed to stump scientists for decades.
They’ve managed to accomplish this via Foldit, a game of sorts in which online gamers compete to unfold chains of amino acids using online tools. Each solved puzzle makes it easier for Pharmacologists to create drugs that target problem spots, which could one day lead to better medicines and cures.
“We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed,” Firas Khatib of the university’s biochemistry lab said in a press release. “The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”
Want to game for the betterment of humanity? You can download Foldit here.