You can help researchers crack Zika by downloading an app

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Friday, May 20, 2016
Help researches crack Zika by downloading an app

Scientists at Rutgers are leading a new initiative to respond to the Zika crisis, and they say you can help them find both a treatment and a vaccine.

Two researchers are part of a supercomputing project. The idea is to screen current drugs and millions of other compounds against models of Zika to see what might be effective.

They will then share the results with the research community, and the drugs that show the most promise will get tested in a lab.

Zika is spread by mosquitos and sexual contact. It's been linked to severe birth defects.

IBM is sponsoring this project with Rutgers, and here's how YOU can help using your smartphone, tablet or computer. You download an app that allows what's called the "World Community Grid" to access your phone or computer. It will only run while your computer is idle.

Researchers say the app gives them access to computer space that would otherwise go to waste.

For instance, they say while you are listening to music, you can be helping cure Zika.

They say if enough people download the app, the project could be finished in a few months.

This very same process has already shown promise fighting other diseases like HIV and Malaria.

So far more than 700,000 people have signed up.

You can download the app here.