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The Rabbit Hole VR Utilizing Idle Gaming PCs to Help Find COVID-19 Treatments During Shut Down

Updated: Apr 29

Here at The Rabbit Hole VR, our arcade locations have been shut down since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We decided to put our idle gaming computers to work during this downtime and have transitioned all 12 VR stations at our Franklin location to run protein-folding simulations in an effort to help find new therapeutic opportunities for COVID-19.

To run the simulations, we have joined the efforts of Folding@Home, a project based at Washington University in St. Louis that crowdsources computer power from users around the world to run complex simulations of protein dynamics.

The simulations consist of protein folding – the process of assembling a protein. Once researchers understand how proteins fold, they can understand how they misfold and cause diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, which are typically the diseases Folding@Home focuses on.

However, viruses also have proteins that can suppress our immune systems and reproduce themselves. The goal of the simulations is to understand how these viral proteins work in COVID-19 and how therapeutics can be designed to stop them.

“Our business relies on the public coming into our arcades and playing together. With both of our locations closed now, we’ve been looking for ways to support our community and keep moving forward in this situation,” said Mitchell Poythress, owner of The Rabbit Hole VR. “We have all of these high-power gaming PCs sitting idle right now, so this is the best way we can use the resources we have to help out and hopefully curb COVID-19 more quickly.”

Once the data is mined at the arcade, it is sent back to Folding@Home and made public to researchers around the world.

To learn more about Folding@Home’s COVID-19 efforts and volunteer your own computing power for research, visit at foldingathome.org/covid19.


Read more in the Nashville Business Journal and on Inc.com.

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