(Reuters) – From harmonious harmonies as the virus disarms cells to clashes and thunderstorms as it replicates, U.S. scientists have translated the new increased protein structure of the coronavirus into music in an effort to better understand the pathogen.
Professor Markus Buehler, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his team used artificial intelligence to transform a model of the SARS-CoV-2 protein structure, as the virus is formally called, into melodies intertwined in a classical musical composition.
The researchers assigned each amino acid – the building blocks of the protein – a unique score. An algorithm then converted these notes into music.
Buehler believes that music offers a more intuitive way for people to understand protein. "You would need a lot of different images, different magnifications to see with your eyes, what your ears can capture with just a few seconds of music," said Buehler.
The composition lasts almost an hour and 50 minutes and has been uploaded to the SoundCloud website on here
The initial part of the composition was described by several SoundCloud listeners as "soothing" and "beautiful". Buehler said that this reflects the ease of the spiked protein that enters the human cell, making it so contagious.
"It is very efficient to trick the cell into opening doors, infecting you and spreading," explained Buehler.
As the virus replicates and the spiked protein binds to more cells, the music becomes dramatic and tumultuous. A SoundCloud user noted that this section reflects when the coronavirus triggers a fever.
Others described the part as "scary" and "sad".
Buehler said that music can help researchers design an antibody.
The ultra-structural morphology exhibited by Novel Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory disease first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM / CDC / Brochure via REUTERS.
Researchers can take a musical counterpoint to the melody and rhythm of the virus and, using artificial intelligence again, try to find an antibody that matches it.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 respiratory disease, has made it important to "open our brains to other forms of information processing," said Buehler.
“The traditional approach, in which you create a lot of proteins, conduct clinical trials and keep repeating them – this may take a few years. We don't have the luxury of time, "said Buehler.
Reporting by Deborah Gembara; Written by Cynthia Osterman; Edition by Rosalba O & # 39; Brien
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