Brownells, the 80-year-old, Iowa-based online firearm and accessories supplier, has joined forces with Folding@home to help combat the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Folding@Home is helping with an international effort to understand the molecular structure of the virus to identify ways to defeat it.
The organization’s website explains, “We’re simulating the dynamics of COVID-19 proteins to hunt for new therapeutic opportunities.”
Individuals and companies can donate their excess server space and computing abilities to the project, and the computer power will in turn help execute advanced modeling simulations to help speed an otherwise huge and lengthy task.
“Our IT team learned about the Folding@Home project and their work using computer modeling to better understand the molecular and protein structure of the virus,” said Brownells IT Director Curt Graff. “We are committed to helping protect our country by virtue of our personal protection and sustainability products, but we see this as a way to support the international community in a time of significant need.”
“Proteins are molecular machines that perform many functions we associated with life,” the web page explains. “They sense the environment (e.g. in taste and smell), perform work (e.g. muscle contraction and breaking down food) and play natural roles (e.g. your hair). They are made of a linear chain of chemicals called amino acids that, in many cases ‘fold’ into compact, functional structures…Viruses also have proteins that they use to suppress our immune systems and reproduce themselves. To help tackle coronavirus, we want to understand how these viral proteins work and how we can design therapeutics to stop them.”
Brownells—a leading resource for firearms, ammunition, accessories, survival gear and more—anticipates it will donate at least 1,300 hours to the project and run approximately 200 simulations on behalf of the global effort to stop the tragic march of COVID-19.