Scientists turn coronavirus into a dash of (relaxing) music

Everyone – with or without a scientific background – has seen the image of the new coronavirus. But have you heard it? After all, scientists have succeeded in translating the structure of the virus into a dash of (relaxing) music.

The structure of the coronavirus is suitable for almost two hours of listening pleasure with plucking, soft whistling, and soothing strings. The result is a soothing melody on which, if you close your eyes, you might even meditate. Pretty ironic, given that the musical notes originated from a virus that turned the world upside down.

A note for every amino acid

How did the scientists at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) proceed? They have assigned a musical note to each amino acid, and there are many.

After all, the coronavirus, like any organism, consists of proteins that play a key role. These proteins, in turn, include a chain of amino acids. And these chains can take on particularly complex structures: they tend to curl up into a helix or stretch out completely. Scientists have taken advantage of this to provide their music with some dynamics (volume and tone).

By the way, transforming the covid-19 into music was not an absurd occupational therapy. It can help scientists to find the so-called spike or key protein. That particle of the virus attaches itself to human cells and infects them. By searching for specific musical sequences that correspond to those of the key protein, it is easier to find a medicine that blocks the receptor on human cells.

Japanese koto

Looking for such a musical sequence can also be done with somewhat rougher music. The Japanese koto was chosen as the instrument for the coronavirus. The researchers found the soothing result appropriate in these turbulent times.

Scientists have transformed the structure of the coronavirus into a dash of music.
©MIT – Scientists have transformed the structure of the coronavirus into a dash of music.

Science Magazine
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