The purpose of the project is to develop treatments that prevent the virus from multiplying. The goal is to identify molecules which are able to block the action of a protein that is essential to the virus since it allows the virus to replicate in the cells it infects. This protein is called 3CL-like protease (3CLpro).
The team will review (“screen”) a large number of molecules or fragments that could inhibit the virus’s 3CLpro. The first step will consist in producing and purifying this protein for screening purposes using the nuclear magnetic resonance technique, with the support of major platforms in Lille.
The team will draw on a large bank of molecule fragments to check which ones are likely to bind to the protein (preferably in sites that also exist in analogous proteins of other coronaviruses).
It will thus be possible to identify or develop whole molecules that may be effective against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.
Finally, the team will test the efficacy of selected molecules, first in vitro by measuring the enzymatic activity of 3CLpro, and then on cell cultures allowing virus replication.
Project initiator :