Skip to main content

Help finding a cure for COVID19: Set up Folding@Home

Image result for covid19

COVID-19 has been already assigned as a pandemic worldwide now. It is now a global problem affecting all of our day to day lives. Almost all the methods of combating the virus at our disposal at this moment are essentially social distancing and maintaining hygiene until a cure is discovered. And while I write this post the death toll worldwide is 17,159 with 470,973 people infected. Be sure when you read this, these numbers have already swelled up.

So while we wait and do our bit by maintaining social distance, I am here today to show you how we all can pitch in our compute power to help researchers find a cure for COVID19.

Why Protein Folding? Why should you care?

How a protein “looks” in 3D is essential for developing new drugs, especially for new viruses. COVID-19, for example, has really spikey proteins that jut out from its surface. Normally, human cells don’t care—they won’t let the virus inside. But COVID-19’s spikey proteins also harbor a Trojan Horse that “activates” it in certain cells with a complementary component. Lung cells have an abundance of these factors, which is why they’re susceptible to invasion.
Protein folding has been a decades-long, fundamental problem in biochemistry and drug discovery. Almost all of our existing drugs grab onto certain proteins to work, so identifying protein structure is akin to surveying the enemy landscape and figuring out the best attack point simultaneously. The problem is the genetic code doesn’t translate to how proteins look. When it comes to a new virus, without predicting protein structures we’re basically fighting viruses and diseases as if they were the Invisible Man.

Bottom line: if a drug is going to “fit” into a protein like a key into a lock to trigger a whole cascade of nasty reactions, then the first step is to figure out the structure of the lock. That's where Folding@home comes in.


Some of us used to contribute our computing power ar SETI@Home which dedicated all those compute power finding ET throughout the universe. While that project has just sunset, we now have Folding@Home which dedicates its computing resources on protein folding to find cures for various diseases including COVID-19.
It simulating the dynamics of COVID-19 proteins to hunt for new therapeutic opportunities.

What do you need?

  • A computer running OSX/Windows/Linux
  • A stable internet connection

How do you set it up

Setting up a Folding@Home instance at your own PC is very straightforward. Just follow the steps below
For windows, you won't really need to do anything else
  • Once the install is done you will be shown a welcome page and then your configurable options. Please see the video below to know step by step what you can configure more

(if you cannot load the video, here is a short animation on the steps)
The video has step by step voice over guiding you through the parameters

In the end, you should have a dashboard like this and happily helping researchers getting a cure for COVID19
This is the final dashboard showing your contribution parameters

Optional Parameters:

You don't really need to set a teamid. But if you decide you use this teamid we as a team would be contributing towards the effort and can see ourselves as a team (and also individual) in the leaderboard.

The Team details used are:

TeamID: 248733
Name: Covid19India


Popular posts from this blog

FirefoxOS, A keyboard and prediction: Story of my first contribution

Returning to my cubical holding a hot cup of coffee and with a head loaded with frustration and panic over a system codebase that I managed to break with no sufficient time to fix it before the next morning.  This was at IBM, New York where I was interning and working on the TJ Watson project. I returned back to my desk, turned on my dual monitors, started reading some blogs and engaging on Mozilla IRC (a new found and pretty short lived hobby). Just a few days before that, FirefoxOS was launched in India in the form of an Intex phone with a $35 price tag. It was making waves all around, because of its hefty price and poor performance . The OS struggle was showing up in the super low cost hardware. I was personally furious about some of the shortcomings, primarily the keyboard which at that time didn’t support prediction in any language other than English and also did not learn new words. Coincidentally, I came upon Dietrich Ayala in the FirefoxOS IRC channel, who at

April Fool and Google Part 2: A Round Up of ALL of Google’s April Fools Jokes

Ok....this post I think will contain all of the pranks I could find  for today. After my last post here Last Time I reported Only a handful of the pranks.. Understandable, as it was only the morning. After that I stumbled upon more of them Which I am gonna round up here. Now staring with the list. The very first one is obviously our favourite Google Maps Quest The above is their official video. In a post in Google Plus they say about it as follows  Today  + Google Maps  announced Google Maps 8-bit for NES. With #8bitmaps , you can do everything you'd normally do in Maps—search for famous landmarks and sites around the world, get directions and even use Street View. Just in time for April Fool's Day, Google has introduced Google Maps Quest, a retro 8-bit version of its mapping tool that is... totally awesome. In a characteristically whimsical video, available above, Google emplo

Curious case of Cisco AnyConnect and WSL2

One thing Covid has taught me is the importance of VPN. Also one other thing COVID has taught me while I work from home  is that your Windows Machine can be brilliant  as long as you have WSL2 configured in it. So imagine my dismay when I realized I cannot access my University resources while being inside the University provided VPN client. Both of the institutions I have affiliation with, requires me to use VPN software which messes up WSL2 configuration (which of course I realized at 1:30 AM). Don't get me wrong, I have faced this multiple times last two years (when I was stuck in India), and mostly I have been lazy and bypassed the actual problem by side-stepping with my not-so-noble  alternatives, which mostly include one of the following: Connect to a physical machine exposed to the internet and do an ssh tunnel from there (not so reliable since this is my actual box sitting at lab desk, also not secure enough) Create a poor man's socks proxy in that same box to have my ow