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If you’re getting restless from social distancing and wishing you could do more to help fight the global pandemic, here are some ways that you can help scientists fight COVID-19—all from the comfort of your home.

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Interviews with Noah Peyser of COVID-19 Citizen Science Project, Brian Koepnick of Foldit, and Michael D. Ward of Folding@home

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Go to to learn more about their course in Statistics Fundamentals. {♫Intro♫}. Nearly 3 billion people are on lockdown around the world.

That alone is doing a lot to curb this pandemic already, so if you're socially distancing, thank you! But if you're also getting restless and wishing you could do more, here are three ways that you can help scientists fight COVID-19—all from the comfort of your home. The first is the COVID-19 Citizen Science Project, a worldwide public health study being run through a survey app you can get on your smartphone.

It's aimed at answering three questions: Who's sick? Where? And why?

Unlike many other apps sprouting up right now, this one has been used for years in global health studies with hundreds of thousands of participants. In the current phase, surveys are trying to understand why COVID-19 looks so different from person to person—because its symptoms range from mild fatigue that goes away on its own to a dry cough that turns into respiratory failure. So the surveys are trying to figure out how things like pre-existing conditions and how often you go out predict the severity of COVID-19.

Eventually, researchers hope to be able to predict who will get sick and how sick they will get before they're even tested. This app also lets you donate your location information—if you want—so researchers can monitor the situation in your area. And like all health-related info, that data is protected by certain laws, so can only be used for research.

As we move into the next phase of this pandemic and try to re-establish normal life, this type of data could be really important. Once researchers have enough participants, they'll be able to see where clusters of severe symptoms pop up, so they can advise governments before those outbreaks spread. Which would hopefully decrease the length and number of times we'd be in lockdown.

But for this information to really be valuable, researchers are aiming to get at least a million people signed up around the world, and you can be one of those people helping make that happen.. Meanwhile, if you're looking for a more hands-on approach, you could try a game called. Foldit.

Foldit is a computer game that's kind of like Tetris, except 3D… and instead of fitting blocks together, you're manipulating proteins. Basically, the goal is to design proteins that fold up and fit together compactly. Fitting proteins together is especially important for designing medicine, because some proteins cause disease—and to turn those proteins off, you need another protein that fits into them perfectly.

It's like fitting a key into a lock, and in Foldit, players try to design those keys. Now, this game may sound like it requires a deep knowledge of chemistry, but it's more about spatial relationships. Users design proteins that get a score based on how well they lock into the harmful protein—and if a design scores highly, it may even get tested in a lab.

Right now, Foldit players are working to design a medicine to stop the virus that causes COVID-19—SARS-CoV-2—from entering our cells. SARS-CoV-2 invades cells by latching onto a receptor protein on the outside of cell membranes. Players are trying to disrupt this by designing decoys—drugs that look so much like the receptor that the virus will bind to them instead.

And the first batch of drugs designed by Foldit players is already in the process of being created for testing in a lab. That's just a small step—and there are a lot of steps between designing a drug in. Foldit and reaching clinical trials.

But still, it's a step, and it's already underway. Finally, if you're more the type of person who wishes you could set up your computer to help cure COVID-19 while you binge true-crime documentaries, this might be for you. You could download an app called Folding@home and donate your computer's power to science while you do whatever you want.

Folding@home powers a bunch of projects related to COVID-19, but one thing it does especially well is run lots of short simulations of proteins to figure out how they move. And that's really important when it comes to tackling viruses. Viruses are made of proteins, and just like in the Foldit game, a drug has to be able to latch onto one of those proteins to block it.

Normally, researchers treat these proteins as static, unmoving things. Then, they use a computer algorithm to place drugs inside pockets all over the protein to see if any stick. But that's not always the most effective strategy.

In reality, most proteins have to wiggle around to function, and the proteins making up SARS-CoV-2 are no exception. So the best place to bind a drug might only be accessible when the protein moves. If we started simulating all those different, wiggly configurations, we could find new and potentially better druggable sites on the virus.

The problem is, those simulations are really computationally intensive. And that's where Folding@home comes in. By having people donate computing power, the hope is that this work could get done faster.

That's worked in the past. Earlier this year, Folding@home revealed a new site on an Ebola protein that drugs can bind to, even though it was thought to be “undruggable.” Now, Folding@home is trying to do the same thing with COVID-19, and thanks to volunteers, they've already found some potential hits. So, if you've always wanted to get work done in your sleep, or are looking for a new game, or just desperately want to get back to normal life, there are at least three ways you can help scientists get us there safely.

You can learn about all of these projects in the description—or, to download the citizen science app, text “SCISHOW” to 41411. Special thanks to Dr. Noah Peyser of COVID-19 Citizen Science Project, Dr.

Brian Koepnick of Foldit, and Michael D. Ward of Folding@Home who let us interview them for this video. In a lot of ways, understanding this virus and how we should respond to it has been centered on the numbers and statistics.

And if you want to get a better understanding of how scientists interpret data, you might like Brilliant's course on Statistics Fundamentals. It's a hands-on, interactive course, and by the end, you'll see how scientists use statistical tools to make predictions. Brilliant also has more than 60 other courses, all designed by professors at universities like MIT and Caltech.

To learn more or try out a course, you can go to The first 200 people to sign up will get 20% off an annual Premium subscription. {♫Outro♫}.