03.14.2020 – 08.42 – The world of science is mobilized in the fight against the Coronavirus; and in Trieste, it is Elettra Sincrotrone that takes up the gauntlet of the challenge, winning a European Commission project aimed at studying (and defeating) Covid-19.
Called “EXSCALATE4CoV”, the project has been active since the second half of February; not by chance, because the call was issued as a matter of urgency.
In this context Elettra acts within a public-private consortium composed of 18 beneficiaries of which 7 European countries; among the Italian partners are also the Cineca supercomputing center, Lazzaro Spallanzani- National Institute for Infectious Diseases and the Dompè Farmaceutici S.p.A. coordinator.
With 3 million euros allocated, the project intends to use “Exscalate” (EXaSCale smArt pLatform Against paThogEns): a supercomputing platform capable of evaluating more than 3 million molecules per second, selecting them from a 500 billion “chemical library”.
With these foundations it will be possible to identify the most suitable drugs for the treatment of the already infected population, followed by the identification of molecules capable of inhibiting the pathogenesis of the coronavirus, thus preventing subsequent epidemics.
In this context Elettra Sincrotrone will use its structural biology laboratory and the XRD1 and XDR2 (biocrystallography) light lines; contributing to the design of new molecules and therefore new potential drugs, validating the virtual models developed by the “Exscalate” platform.
Elettra’s team consists of Paola Storici, who will lead the project together with the managers of the XRD2 and XRD1 light lines Annie Heroux and Maurizio Polentarutti, and Federica Mantovani of the Industrial Liaison Office.
Traduzione di Michael Guggenbichler