Würzburg, January 11, 2022 – The Free State of Bavaria is funding FOR-COVID for another three years. The collaborative research project started its work in fall 2020. Its aim is to better understand the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease Covid-19.
Once again, the scientific community of Würzburg is involved in FOR-COVID: Professor Jörg Vogel, Director of the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology (IMIB) at Julius Maximilian University (JMU) and Scientific Director of the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research (HIRI), together with Mathias Munschauer, Junior Professor at JMU and research group leader at HIRI, will search for vulnerabilities of the virus. In doing so, they are focusing on a central product of virus replication: double-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA). The scientists also want to mechanistically dissect how the newly discovered antiviral RNA-binding protein CNBP functions. In the future, this could lead to new therapeutic applications.
In a second subproject, HIRI research group leader Emmanuel Saliba and Professor Lars Dölken, virologist, as well as bioinformatician Florian Erhardt from JMU are working together. Their goal is to identify the molecular mechanisms of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Artificial intelligence and a new RNA sequencing approach introduced by the team are being used. This allows to decipher host-pathogen interaction with unprecedented temporal resolution at single cell level.
The second funding period of FOR-COVID, which is now beginning, covers a period of three years. The Free State of Bavaria is supporting a total of eight subprojects in Bavaria with 2.4 million euros. 580,000 euros will go to Würzburg.
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