DARPA, the Pentagon’s technology research arm is looking at an unlikely source – the gaming community at large, to enlist their help in finding a cure for a blood infection which makes short work of troops in battlefield hospitals each year. The disease is known as sepsis, which is actually a blood infection that ends up as fatal whenever a patient enters into septic shock as the body tries its darndest best to stave off the infection. Septic shock normally happens after suffering from a massive trauma such as losing an appendage like a hand or leg to a bomb.
The game and online community at Foldit, a DARPA-funded website, has been asked to help find a cure for sepsis. The Foldit community has been asked to “play around” with protein designs in a massive brainstorming session in order to come up with new protein designs that could possible attack the ones that are the main cause of sepsis. DARPA hopes to stumble upon a “protein-based pathogen capture reagents to be used for the removal of circulating pathogens patients’ blood as part of a larger [dialysis-like therapeutic] system.”
Will this effort see success? Perhaps – and as long as someone tries, there is always hope at the end of the tunnel, no matter how bleak the outlook might be.
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