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Tackling SARS-CoV-2 Biochemistry

The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic launched a race to produce effective vaccines, several of which have now been rolled out with remarkable speed. Frequent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, however, serves as an important warning that this will be an ongoing battle. New generations of vaccines will be required, and effective antiviral compounds will be crucial tools in the armory against newly emerging virus variants. To meet this challenge during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, John Diffley and his colleagues (in the Francis Crick Institute and University of Dundee) re-tooled their laboratories to identify new small molecule inhibitors of the enzymes required for SARS-CoV-2 replication. They focused on pre-existing pharmaceuticals with the hope that the inhibitors they found could be deployed rapidly in the response to COVID-19. This collection of original papers in the Biochemical Journal presents the findings for seven SARS-CoV-2 enzymes. The collection describes several drug candidates that will serve as important starting points for further development and/or tool compounds for studies of the vagaries of this virus. Read the related commentary by Ron Hay for a succinct overview of the findings and their implications in the battle against the pandemic.
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John F.X. Diffley
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210426
Ronald T. Hay
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210256
Jingkun Zeng; Florian Weissmann; Agustina P. Bertolin; Viktor Posse; Berta Canal; Rachel Ulferts; Mary Wu; Ruth Harvey; Saira Hussain; Jennifer C. Milligan; Chloe Roustan; Annabel Borg; Laura McCoy; Lucy S. Drury; Svend Kjaer; John McCauley; Michael Howell; Rupert Beale; John F.X. Diffley
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210201
Agustina P. Bertolin; Florian Weissmann; Jingkun Zeng; Viktor Posse; Jennifer C. Milligan; Berta Canal; Rachel Ulferts; Mary Wu; Lucy S. Drury; Michael Howell; Rupert Beale; John F.X. Diffley
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210200
Berta Canal; Ryo Fujisawa; Allison W. McClure; Tom D. Deegan; Mary Wu; Rachel Ulferts; Florian Weissmann; Lucy S. Drury; Agustina P. Bertolin; Jingkun Zeng; Rupert Beale; Michael Howell; Karim Labib; John F.X. Diffley
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210199
Chew Theng Lim; Kang Wei Tan; Mary Wu; Rachel Ulferts; Lee A. Armstrong; Eiko Ozono; Lucy S. Drury; Jennifer C. Milligan; Theresa U. Zeisner; Jingkun Zeng; Florian Weissmann; Berta Canal; Ganka Bineva-Todd; Michael Howell; Nicola O'Reilly; Rupert Beale; Yogesh Kulathu; Karim Labib; John F.X. Diffley
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210244
Berta Canal; Allison W. McClure; Joseph F. Curran; Mary Wu; Rachel Ulferts; Florian Weissmann; Jingkun Zeng; Agustina P. Bertolin; Jennifer C. Milligan; Souradeep Basu; Lucy S. Drury; Tom D. Deegan; Ryo Fujisawa; Emma L. Roberts; Clovis Basier; Karim Labib; Rupert Beale; Michael Howell; John F.X. Diffley
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210198
Jennifer C. Milligan; Theresa U. Zeisner; George Papageorgiou; Dhira Joshi; Christelle Soudy; Rachel Ulferts; Mary Wu; Chew Theng Lim; Kang Wei Tan; Florian Weissmann; Berta Canal; Ryo Fujisawa; Tom Deegan; Hema Nagaraj; Ganka Bineva-Todd; Clovis Basier; Joseph F. Curran; Michael Howell; Rupert Beale; Karim Labib; Nicola O'Reilly; John F.X. Diffley
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210197
Souradeep Basu; Tiffany Mak; Rachel Ulferts; Mary Wu; Tom Deegan; Ryo Fujisawa; Kang Wei Tan; Chew Theng Lim; Clovis Basier; Berta Canal; Joseph F. Curran; Lucy S. Drury; Allison W. McClure; Emma L. Roberts; Florian Weissmann; Theresa U. Zeisner; Rupert Beale; Victoria H. Cowling; Michael Howell; Karim Labib; John F.X. Diffley
DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20210219
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