COVID-19: unique research of Russian scientists in genomic and protein engineering

10 August 2020

GMP News

Scientists of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ICBFM SB RAS) will conduct a study to search for substances withstanding the effect of the coronavirus protein, which protects it from many antiviral preparations. It is planned to find such compositions within two years.

The coronavirus, in addition to the polymerase protein that all viruses have which is responsible for the propagation of the virus, contains one more protein which removes wrong nucleotides from the growing RNA chain.

This complicates the process of finding a medicine against the coronavirus infection since many antiviral drugs use precisely this principle – they insert themselves in the existing chain and prevent the virus from synthesizing its genetic material cutting off its propagation.

According of scientists, there are very few such targets that only the virus possesses while humans do not. However, the correcting protein is one of the few targets unique to coronaviruses, which makes the study even more pressing. The researchers at institute have a vast experience of working with proteins that remove wrong nucleotides from genome.

In the team of the institute are chemists and biologists. Scientists are working on synthesizing various compositions that will be inserted at the end of the growing RNA strand. The two-year project is supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research grant.

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