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First open source all-atom models of Covid-19 protein developed

A team of scientists has produced first open source all-atom models of full-length COVID-19 Spike protein that facilitates viral entry into host cells – a discovery that can facilitate a faster vaccine and antiviral drug development.

Updated Jun 22, 2020 04:47 AM

First open source all-atom models of Covid-19 protein developed

The group from Seoul National University in South Korea, University of Cambridge in the UK and Lehigh University in the US produced the first open-source all-atom models of a full-length S protein.

The researchers say this is of particular importance because the S protein plays a central role in viral entry into cells, making it a main target for vaccine and antiviral drug development.

"Our models are the first full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein models that are available to other scientists," said Wonpil Im, a professor in Lehigh University.

"Our team spent days and nights to build these models very carefully from the known cryo-EM structure portions. Modeling was very challenging because there were many regions where simple modeling failed to provide high-quality models," he wrote in a paper published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.

Scientists can use the models to conduct innovative and novel simulation research for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19.

Though the coronavirus uses many different proteins to replicate and invade cells, the Spike protein is the major surface protein that it uses to bind to a receptor.

The total number of global COVID-19 cases was nearing 9 million, while the deaths have increased to over 467,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

With 2,279,306 cases and 119,967 deaths, the US continues with the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, according to the CSSE.

Brazil comes in the second place with 1,083,341 infections and 50,591 deaths.

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