20 May 2020
Andrea Thorn (Universität Würzburg)
SARS-CoV-2 (and SARS-CoV) use 28 macromolecular structures, which make up the hull, the spikes, enable the virus to repress the host's immune system and to replicate. For structure-based drug design, knowing these structures is paramount - you need to know what a molecule looks like to find a drug that binds to it specifically. Of these 28 coronavirus molecules, 16 have been experimentally solved at an atomic level, totalling to roughly 500 structures by now. However, as these atomic models are only interpretations of experimental data, errors occur. The Coronavirus Structural Task Force systematically validates and improves these structures, pushing the limits of modern methods in structural biology in order to give drug developers all over the world the best possible molecular models to start from.