Folding@Home for Hep B?

Hi everyone,

You’ve probably heard of Folding@Home, a crowdsourced drug discovery programme for various diseases.

Although their website lists hepatitis C under Science > Diseases, a search for “hepatitis” on their forum and Discord returns very few results. Therefore, I assume hepatitis is not a priority for them at the moment.

My question for the @ScienceExperts: is there a need for a similar project dedicated to hepatitis B? The entire Folding@Home codebase is available on GitHub so anyone can roll their own.

Hi @leonfeng,

This feels more like a question best answered by the structural researchers (@john.tavis, @mwoodso4, @daniel.bradley @joewang). My understanding is that folding@home provides a way of figuring out the atomic structure and configuration of proteins. In Hep B, the major structural proteins are pretty well defined (and now, as @john.tavis had mentioned last year - the polymerase as well The Hepatitis B polymerase: A difficult problem begins to crack - #13).

For me, there could be potential in the HBx protein (whose full-length structure is still a mystery). However, some drugs against HBx have been tested in clinical trials with little effect.

Hep B isn’t like a lot of other viruses. Even if you shut the proteins down, Hep B persists until you stop taking the medication. So it’s not only the structural analysis of the proteins that we need, but something more holistic to involve the cells, immune system, etc. together to clear the infection.

Hope this makes sense,
Thomas