Back

Looking for the crucial points of the SARS-CoV-2 infection mechanism using CRISPR technology

Looking for the crucial points of the SARS-CoV-2 infection mechanism using CRISPR technology

The project proposes to identify the factors in human cells that SARS-CoV-2 "hijacks" to promote their infectious cycle with the aim of testing drugs already developed against these factors to inhibit viral infection.

31.07.2020

Imatge inicial

A project of the Synthetic Translational Biology Research Group at UPF is beneficiary of the SUPERA COVID-19 Fund, made up of Banco Santander, Spanish universities, and the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).

The project, "CRISPRCOV2: CRISPR Screen to Identify Drug Repurposing Host Targets for SARS-CoV-2 Infection" proposes to identify the factors in human cells that SARS-CoV-2 "hijacks" to promote their infectious cycle with the aim of testing drugs already developed against these factors to inhibit viral infection.

CRISPRCOV2 is a collaboration between the group of Marc Güell in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS) at UPF and the group of the virologist Javier Martinez-Picado, ICREA researcher at IRSI-Caixa and professor at UVic-UCC.

The identification of cellular factors that are essential for SARS-CoV-2 infection provides a guide for the selection for candidate drugs for repurposing, which alleviates the need to screen large drug libraries.

Amal Rahmeh, who will lead the project at UPF, explains that “using CRISPR technology, we will knock-out different genes from human cells. In some cases, the elimination of these genes will prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection, which will allow us to identify the cellular factors necessary for the virus infectious cycle. Subsequently, we will select a suite of available drugs targeting these host factors, test their efficacy in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection, and propose candidates for immediate repurposing as antivirals”. 

Drug repurposing, a fast strategy

Drug repurposing represents one of the fastest strategies to combat the current pandemic as it bypasses several of the lengthy and costly stages of drug development, such as the toxicity studies since these have already been performed during development for the primary indication. “In this case, the identification of cellular factors that are essential for SARS-CoV-2 infection provides a guide for the selection for candidate drugs for repurposing, which alleviates the need to screen large drug libraries”, explains Marc Güell. 

Fondo Supera Covid-19

Banco Santander, in collaboration with Crue Spanish Universities and the CSIC, have established the FONDO SUPERA COVID-19, with 8.5 million euros, aimed at financing programs, collaborative projects and measures to support the university setting to minimize the impact of the crisis caused by the coronavirus in the health, educational and social fields.

It selects projects from different universities developed on three strategic axes against Covid-19: applied research on the virus and its prevention, social impact and strengthening of the technological capacity of the universities and reduction of the digital divide.

Multimèdia

Multimedia

Multimedia

Categories:

Per a més informació

Para más información

For more information

Notícia publicada per:

Noticia publicada por:

News published by:

Unitat de Comunicació i Projecció Institucionals

Unidad de Comunicación y Proyección Institucionales

Institutional Communication and Promotion Unit