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CORDIS

General-purpose virus-neutralizing engulfing shells with modular target-specificity

Project description

Neutralising nanoshells for broad virus targeting

Viral infections affect millions of people every year, yet no treatment is available for 70 % of known pathogenic viruses. The EU-funded VIROFIGHT project is proposing a new radical approach to fight viral infections by constructing synthetic nanoshells that can specifically recognise and engulf entire viruses, neutralising them by occlusion. The interdisciplinary project integrates chemistry, molecular nanoengineering and virology with the mission to develop and test prototypes of engulfing nanoshells that have the principal capacity to neutralise any given virus. VIROFIGHT has the potential to become a revolutionary achievement as shell prototypes can be developed and produced in the course of weeks after the discovery of a viral pathogen, and the drug concept can be adapted for a wide variety of viruses.

Objective

Viral infections affect millions of people every year and cause tremendous human suffering and costs to society. For approximately 70% of all WHO listed viruses, no treatment is available and the antiviral drugs that do exist typically must be applied very early after infection to be effective. The VIROFIGHT consortium proposes a radically new approach to fight viral infections, to help reduce the scale and sheer impact of viral infections, to address the problem of a lack of broadly applicable antiviral treatments, and to create means for combating emerging pathogens. Instead of targeting virus-specific proteins or enzymes by small molecules as current antivirals do, we will construct synthetic nano-shells that can specifically recognize and engulf entire viruses to efficiently neutralize the pathogen by occlusion. To achieve this technological target, our interdisciplinary project integrates supramolecular chemistry, molecular nanoengineering, and virology with the mission to develop and test prototypes of engulfing nano-shells that have the principal capacity to neutralize any given virus. We will fabricate biocompatible nano-shells through DNA origami and protein design and attach modularly virus-specific molecules to them in a multivalent fashion, to exploit avidity effects for strong virus binding. The virus binders will be identified through rapid in vitro selection processes designed to be applicable to any target virus. Neutralization assays will be used to test our concept on a variety of viruses. VIROFIGHT has the potential to attain revolutionary properties: shell prototypes can be developed and produced in the course of weeks after discovery of a viral pathogen, and the drug concept can be used and adapted for a wide variety of viral pathogens, without having detailed knowledge about the virus. The VIROFIGHT concept aimed at eradicating multiple viruses thus has great potential for decreasing the burden for patients and saving costs to society.

Call for proposal

H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2020

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Sub call

H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2019-2020-01

Coordinator

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
Net EU contribution
€ 1 630 935,50
Address
Arcisstrasse 21
80333 Muenchen
Germany

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Region
Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
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Total cost
€ 1 630 935,50

Participants (5)