Using A Video Game To Help Build A Better Test for TB

May 5, 2016
Rhiju Das Eterna

Tuberculosis infects a third of the world’s population and kills about 1.5 million each year. Yet health organizations lack a simple-to-use blood test that can detect active infection in many patients, especially in remote villages.

Eterna’s co-creator Rhiju Das, PhD, said Eterna Medicine could someday allow citizen-scientists to invent their own pharmaceuticals. “It’s going to sound like science fiction,” he said. For now, Das, an associate professor of biochemistry at Stanford, is turning loose 100,000 registered Eterna players to pilot a new route to controlling the tuberculosis pandemic.

Watch Rhiju’s Presentation from The Interactive Media & Games Seminar Series

Eterna, the first version of the video game, was launched five years ago as a way to let nonscientists design potentially useful biomolecules that are stable enough to function inside a living cell. Over the years, the players have become more and more expert in designing complex RNA molecules. They are so good at it now that the players recently co-authored an article in the Journal of Molecular Biology describing a set of rules for predicting how difficult it will be to build a given RNA molecule.

Now Das has set a new challenge in front of them: design a molecule that could help save the lives of millions of people.

Read the entire Story by Jennie Dusheck HERE