How does BESSY II contribute to the research on SARS-CoV-2?
BESSY II provides important insights into SARS-CoV-2
At the X-ray light source BESSY II at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), a team led by Prof. Dr. Rolf Hilgenfeld (University of Lübeck), has decoded the three-dimensional structure of an important enzyme of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. This enzyme is the main viral protease involved in the replication of the virus. Since then, the 3D architecture of this main protease has been deciphered. This allows the search for suitable active substances to be narrowed down considerably.
Suitable active substances must fit like a "key in a lock" (in the active centre of the protease) and dock at specific positions in the target molecule so that they impede its function (in this case: replication of the virus). > Read more here (news piece)
Fragment screening: an effective method to find binding hits for drugs
Fragment screening is a popular approach to identify the binding of small organic molecules (fragments) to protein targets.
The scientists examine hundreds of small molecular substances and understand which of them bind to a protease. A challenging task, as the surface structure of proteins is complex and it is difficult to find the fitting molecules that prevent their function. With the fragment screening, thousands of possible keys are tested virtually until the "lock pick" is found and can penetrate the protease.
BESSY II research in the media
20.05.2020 Mittagsmagazin Das Erste (national TV broadcast, in german): Die Suche nach dem Corona-Medikament
The search for a drug against COVID-19
15.05.2020 Article in nature: The sprint to solve coronavirus protein structures - and disarm them with drugs
Stopping the pandemic could rely on breakneck efforts to visualize SARS-CoV-2 proteins and use them to design drugs and vaccines.
4.05.2020 - Regional broadcast (rbb)
Researchers use the particle accelerator BESSY II to search for an active substance.
Video available online until 11.05.2020
14Shutdown für Teilchenbeschleuniger
Shutdown for particle accelerators
1.04.2020 - Regional broadcast (rbb, in german): BESSY II research related on SARS-CoV-2
Online until 8.04.2020
Researchers working at the BESSY II X-ray source have decoded the three-dimensional structure of one of the major proteins of the novel coronavirus. Manfred Weiss from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin explains how this could speed up the search for a drug to treat the disease caused by the virus.
"This facilitates the search for suitable active substance" – interview with Manfred Weiss (group leader at the Joint Research Group Macromolecular Crystallography at BESSY II)
13.03.2020 - TV broadcast NDR (in german) : Neuer Wirkstoff aus Lübeck soll gegen Coronavirus helfen
New substance from Lübeck to help against coronavirus
Networks on SARS-CoV-2 research
Researchers all over the world are working on active substances against the corona virus. The HZB is part of the following research initiatives:
As Germany's largest research organization, the Helmholtz Association makes important contributions to overcoming the corona crisis through top-level research, please find here their SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus topic page.
The European operators of synchrotron sources and free electron lasers (FEL) have joined forces in the strategic initiative called LEAPS (League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources). Mid-May LEAPS has published the brochure: Research at LEAPS facilities fighting COVID-19
BESSY II is also member of the international collaboration Ligthsources.org, where communicators from synchrontons and FELs put all their effort together creating “one voice for brightest science”. They collate all the results on COVID-19 related research here: Lightsource research on SARS-CoV-2.
Latest news about research at BESSY II
Please find here the latest news on research done at BESSY II related to SARS-CoV-2.
Corona research: Consortium of Berlin research and industry seeks active... The Berlin biotech company Molox GmbH and a team at HZB have initiated a consortium of regional research groups and BASF. They want to identify a starting point for the development of a potential active substance against the new coronavirus.
Coronavirus SARS-CoV2: BESSY II data accelerate drug development At the Berlin X-ray source BESSY II, researchers have decoded a protein involved in the replication of the corona virus. Analysing the 3D architecture allows the systematic development of drugs which inhibit the reproduction of the virus.