Combatting and eventually eradicating the new coronavirus causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) requires specific and efficient antiviral drugs and improved diagnostics. The Sino-European Project on SARS Diagnostics and Antivirals (SEPSDA) is an integrated project that applies modern biotechnical technology for the generation of improved diagnostics and of lead compounds for antiviral drugs. SEPSDA brings together leading SARS researchers from Germany, Denmark, Poland, and China, who together have an excellent publication record on the molecular biology of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Several of the existing anti-SARS drug leads as well as the first antibody-based diagnostic kit were created by members of SEPSDA. Participation of four leading laboratories in China brings SEPSDA in the unique position of having access to samples from Chinese patients at various stages of disease. Serological studies will lead to improved SARS diagnostics. Analysis of the genome and the proteome of SARS coronavirus by sequencing and advanced bioinformatics will further determine the genetic variability of the virus isolates and identify new possible targets for therapeutic intervention, both at the RNA and the protein level. SEPSDA aims at determining the three-dimensional structures of all soluble SARS-CoV proteins or domains thereof. This structural genomics approach will provide the basis for the virtual screening of large compound databases, including those containing Chinese traditional medicines, for molecules potentially interfering with the function of the viral proteins or their interaction partners in the host cell. Candidate inhibitors will be tested in cell culture and improved by synthetic chemistry. After patenting, the lead compounds will be offered to an industrial platform on SARS, yet to be created, which should form an interface between SEPSDA and the pharmaceutical industry.
Field of science
- /medical and health sciences/health sciences/infectious disease/RNA virus/coronavirus
Call for proposal
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