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The University of Southampton

Computational chemists model pivotal coronavirus protein to help new drugs and vaccines

Published: 21 May 2020
Covid M protein image

An international collaboration including Professor Syma Khalid from the University of Southampton is building an all-atom model of SARS-COV2 (coronavirus) to aid the design of new antivirals and vaccines.

Southampton multiscale modelling and simulations are helping understand and make predictions about a protein, known as the M protein, which is found within the membrane of the coronavirus.

More information about this protein will help scientists understand how the virus survives, which will then help the search to find a treatment or vaccine.

Syma’s research will be used by a team at the University of California, San Diego, as they build a model of the entire virus.

“The coronavirus is surrounded by a lipid membrane,” Syma says. “The most abundant protein in the membrane is the M protein, however neither the structure of the protein nor the precise way it is arranged in the membrane, and how it interacts with other membrane proteins are known.”

The simulations are being performed on a combination of UK-leading high performance computing resources at Southampton and national facilities provided through UKRI.

Read the full story on the main news page.

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