German scientists have found a promising approach towards understanding the COVID-19 virus better which could help in creating drugs to combat it.
Scientists used the Berlin X-ray source BESSY II to decode the protein responsible for the replication of the coronavirus. The scientists have managed to decode the 3D architecture of the main protease (Mpro) of SARS CoV-2. The protein plays a pivotal role in the reproduction of the virus.
The 3D architecture provides the concrete base points on which one can keep on developing active inhibitors to fight the virus. The drugs created could target specific points of SARS CoV-2 and stop its functions.
The team was led by Professor Dr Rolf Hilgenfeld of the University of Lubeck in Germany. They used high-intensity X-ray light from the BESSY II facility of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB).
Speaking about the development, Dr Manfred Weiss, who heads the Research group at HZB, revealed that for issues of such high relevance they can offer fast track access to their instruments.
He added that the instrument used for the experiment allows for the analysis of tiny protein crystals using X-ray light, which shows the 3D architecture of the protein molecules. The shape of the molecule and its electron density is calculated using computer algorithms.
Hilgenfeld had earlier developed an inhibitor against the SARS-virus during the 2002/2003 pandemic and deciphered an enzyme of the Zika virus in 2016.
Over 3 lakh people across the world have tested positive for the coronavirus. In India, the number of cases is rising and is close to 400. State governments have opted for a lockdown to stop the spread of the virus.