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In our project, we are looking for ligands – small molecules that can successfully bind to protein targets and modulate a specific process that is crucial for the virus biochemistry. Together we have developed software that can be easily installed on your computer to help participants help find the cure for today's invisible enemy. Based on molecular docking, the ideal ligand should be complementary in shape and properties to the binding site of the target biomolecule. However, the complementarity of small molecules is only one prerequisite for the use of a molecule as a drug.
The search for the right molecule is best illustrated by finding a small needle in a huge haystack. It is a much more difficult problem because of the number of possible molecular structures. The amount of all possible molecular structures is also called the chemical universe – the size of this abstract space can be estimated to be 10 to the power of 80. There are many galaxies in this chemical universe, and one of the galaxies is a galaxy with potentially pharmacologically active molecules. The method for this purpose is called virtual screening. In principle, the larger the part of the chemical universe that we study, the higher the likelihood of finding a potential cure for the coronavirus.
You can help with your computer. With the help of BOINC, you will download a subset of compounds on your computer, examine the compounds in the context of the studied target and send the results to a server where they are collected for later analysis.
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