Tackling SARS-CoV-2 Biochemistry
The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic launched a race to produce effective vaccines, several of which have now been rolled out with remarkable speed. Frequent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, however, serves as an important warning that this will be an ongoing battle. New generations of vaccines will be required, and effective antiviral compounds will be crucial tools in the armory against newly emerging virus variants. To meet this challenge during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, John Diffley and his colleagues (in the Francis Crick Institute and University of Dundee) re-tooled their laboratories to identify new small molecule inhibitors of the enzymes required for SARS-CoV-2 replication. They focused on pre-existing pharmaceuticals with the hope that the inhibitors they found could be deployed rapidly in the response to COVID-19. This collection of original papers in the Biochemical Journal presents the findings for seven SARS-CoV-2 enzymes. The collection describes several drug candidates that will serve as important starting points for further development and/or tool compounds for studies of the vagaries of this virus. Read the related commentary by Ron Hay for a succinct overview of the findings and their implications in the battle against the pandemic.
During this webinar the speakers will describe the biochemical screens we used to identify inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 encoded enzymes. John Diffley will provide an overview of the project, Jennifer Milligan will describe the screen for Nsp5/MPro inhibitors, Kang Wei Tan will describe the Nsp3/PLpro screen, Berta Canal will describe the Nsp14/10 and nsp15 screesn, and Rachel Ulferts will describe how she tested these inhibitors in viral growth assays.
- John Diffley
- Jennifer Milligan
- Kang Wei Tan
- Berta Canal
- Rachel Ulferts
The webinar will be chaired by Professor Mark Lemmon, Chair of the Biochemical Journal, and it will be held as part of Biology Week 2021.