Raven SantanaMay 19, 2016, 4:16 pmMay 19, 2016, 4:16 pm

Anyone with a computer can now help scientists find a cure for the Zika virus

Researchers: App uses donated computer power to perform virtual experiments

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A new online virtual experiment led by Rutgers University researchers could help find the cure for the Zika virus by using math and donated computer power.

With nearly a month away from the first day of summer, scientists across the world are concerned about what the warmer weather will bring.

The virus is spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito and is suspected to be the leading cause of microcephaly, a disease that has led to the birth of thousands of babies with underdeveloped brains.

In a worldwide effort, a team of scientists are extending their research power by using technology to find a cure.

“So, basically, you’re just donating your computer power that you’re not normally using,” Rutgers University scientist Dr. Alex Perryman explains.

Perryman is one of at least 12 scientists from across the world who is working on a virtual experiment called "Open Zika," a project sponsored by the computer company IBM.

“It runs very much like a screensaver in the sense that when you’re not using your computer at all, you can see you that you actually get a screensaver showing you what particular calculations you’re doing to help our project,” he said.

Once you sign up, you can control what percentage of power you allow to be used; the more you do it, the more results are created for the assessment of researchers, which is where Dr. Joel Freundlich comes in.

“Looking at the results that we get from the computational work, and try to take those forward and follow them towards potential drug candidates. I just want to encourage people, it doesn't take any of their time, and there are no security issues. It’s just free computer resources to help the world,” Freundlich said.

Want to start helping scientists find a cure to the Zika virus?

Head to http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/join.action#signup , where you can download the app directly to your smart phone or computer.

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