Researchers have used an AI system to turn the deadly coronavirus into a playable melody that actually has some scientific value as well.
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have taken the coronavirus' spike proteins, which are the key factor in how the virus spreads, and applied musical notes to each of the amino acids found in protein. The researchers gave each of the amino acids a unique note, then the data was placed into an algorithm that spat out this melody that is a representation of how the proteins are arranged.
So why would researchers want to do this? Well, according to MIT Professor Markus Buehler, who spoke to MIT News, the musical piece actually offers researchers some scientific value. Buehler said, "Our brains are great at processing sound! In one sweep, our ears pick up all of its hierarchical features: pitch, timbre, volume, melody, rhythm, and chords. We would need a high-powered microscope to see the equivalent detail in an image, and we could never see it all at once. Sound is such an elegant way to access the information stored in a protein."
Researchers will use the AI-generated track, and compare what they hear to an antibody and attempt to match the rhythm and melody. Doing this could mean that the antibody is capable of binding to the spike protein, and thus interfering with how the virus can infect others.
Professor Buehler, said "We could search for a new protein that matches the melody and rhythm of an antibody capable of binding to the spike protein, interfering with its ability to infect."
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