Citizen Science and the fight against the coronavirus

About our project

Anyone can participate!

A team of scientists led by Dr. Črtomir Podlipnik and Dr. Marko Jukič has prepared a project where the general public can participate in the fight against the coronavirus. The project aims to examine libraries of molecular compounds and help find a cure for coronavirus.

The story behind

 In our project, we are looking for ligands – small molecules that can successfully bind to protein targets and modulate a specific process that is crucial for the virus biochemistry. Together we have developed software that can be easily installed on your computer to help participants help find the cure for today’s invisible enemy. Based on molecular docking, the ideal ligand should be complementary in shape and properties to the binding site of the target biomolecule. Although the complementarity of small molecules is only one prerequisite for the use of a molecule as a drug. The search for the right molecule is best illustrated by finding a small needle in a huge haystack. It is a much more difficult problem because of the number of possible molecular structures. The amount of all possible molecular structures is also called the chemical universe – the size of this abstract space can be estimated to be 10 to the power of 80. There are many galaxies in this chemical universe, and one of the galaxies is a galaxy with potentially pharmacologically active molecules. The method for this purpose is called virtual screening. In principle, the larger the part of the chemical universe that we study, the higher the likelihood of finding a potential cure for the coronavirus.

Distributed Computing

You can also help with your computer. With the help of a small program, You will download a subset of compounds on your computer, examine the compounds in the context of the studied target and send the results to a server where they are collected for later analysis.

How can you also contribute to the project?

You can contribute by sharing the information you have gained: by reading articles, finding information on the World Wide Web, participating in forums and social networks to share your own experiences and knowledge. Experienced volunteers (researchers and students of biochemistry, chemistry, pharmacy and the like) can: participate in strategy development (proposing objectives, methodology), help with the technical implementation of the project: prepare targets, propose ligands or process the results of virtual screening. For interested volunteers who would like to make their computer time available, we have prepared a package – in which you will receive one or more targets, a set of ligands and send the results back to the server.

Worldwide Citizen Science Projects related to  COVID-19

Medicinal chemistry as a service powered by machine learning Santa Clara, CA and London, UK

 Here you can activelly particpate to the project with your own ideas by sketching molecules – potential inhibitors for 3CLPro. 




The Central Technical Library of the University of Ljubljana for providing comprehensive support for the project.
The startup company Intellimol for designing the computational experiment and providing bio/chemo/informatics support.
RXTX, the IT/BioTech company which help us with providing and setting modern software for virtual screening (RxDock)  and for Scientific Collaboration. 
BioSolveIt, for providing Seesar; an excellent tool for drug design and for continuous support of our project. 
The IT company Gama System, a gold Microsoft Partner which helps us in searching resources.
The Contabo GMBH for generous hosting of our project.

And we are also extremely grateful to all volunteers who participate in any way in the implementation of the project.