QBI probes three lethal coronaviruses to find possible drug targets

In research published October 15 in Science, an international team of almost 200 researchers led by the Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI), an Organized Research Unit at UC San Francisco in the School of Pharmacy, studied three lethal coronaviruses to identify commonly hijacked cellular pathways and detect promising targets for drugs that are already on the market.

After mapping out the numerous molecular interactions underlying SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and MERS-CoV infection and spread, the group analyzed medical records of nearly 740,000 patients with SARS-CoV-2 to uncover approved therapeutics that could treat coronaviruses in general.

"This is looking across coronaviruses and finding the commonalities so we’re in a better position to attack SARS3 when it comes," QBI Director Nevan Krogan, PhD, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The collaboration included academic and private sector scientists from UCSF, QBI’s Coronavirus Research Group (QCRG), Gladstone Institutes, European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, England, Georgia State University, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Institut Pasteur in Paris, Cluster of Excellence CIBSS at the University of Freiburg in Germany, University of Sheffield in the UK, and other institutions, as well as from Aetion, which makes software for analysis of real-world data, and genome engineering company Synthego.


International team of scientists identifies common vulnerabilities across coronaviruses (UCSF News)

Scientists are probing coronavirus secrets ‘so we’re in a better position to attack SARS3 when it comes’ (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)


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About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.