Research of SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors
The Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Chemical Thermodynamics at the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering began research on the SARS-CoV-2 virus already in December 2019.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of 2019, a lot of research work has been devoted to understanding the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen itself, to the treatment of the COVID-19 disease that is caused by it as well as to the control of the resulting global economic and social as well as health crisis. The Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Chemical Thermodynamics at the UM Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering began to conduct research on the SARS-CoV-2 virus already in December 2019 and continues to do so today. As otherwise, health is the main social and economic focus of the Laboratory by studying molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis, potential adverse effects of microwave radiation, beneficial effects of natural polyphenolic compounds as well as the development of new antibacterial substances.
With excellent research achievements …
It is the only laboratory in Slovenia that is systematically and specifically engaging in research in the field of SARS-CoV-2 active substances as well as studying the majority of its main therapeutic targets for the development of new antiviral medicines. With the help of the largest Slovene supercomputer HPC RIVR, they virtually sieve libraries containing milliards of chemical compounds and fit them to protein SARS-CoV-2 targets by using molecular anchoring, a sort of hyperdimensional tetris. Then, they further test the compounds in the laboratory and try to identify active substances that block the replication of the virus itself. They have also developed the innovative approach of inverse molecular anchoring that enables the search for new potential therapeutic targets by using the so-called molecular fingerprints.
we contribute to the development of medicines …
Within the research topic, they have gained success with a number of publications in top international scientific journals and cooperate with colleagues in Slovenia and internationally, since their results already form a part of further international research. In this regard, they would like to highlight the excellent cooperation with researchers from the UL Biotechnical Faculty, UL Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, UP Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies and the Jožef Stefan Institute. An especially interesting experience, however, was setting up the COVID.SI community science project.
in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
Through SARS-CoV-2 research at the University of Maribor, both doc. dr. Marko Jukić and prof. dr. Urban Bren, would like to continue their work aimed at reaching a deeper understanding of SARS-CoV-2 molecular mechanisms and developing potential active substances that would help in the fight against COVID-19 and of course wider – in similar future epidemics. They are currently conducting research pertaining to potential inhibitors of human enzymes neuropilin 1 and furin that take part in the viral entry into the human cell and developing new in silico tools that facilitate the research of new medicines.
At the Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of the University of Maribor, we conduct research on SARS-CoV-2 already since December 2019 and try to contribute a Slovene piece to the mosaic of global scientific efforts to understand SARS-CoV-2 and develop new COVID-19 medicines.doc. dr. MARKO JUKIĆ in prof. dr. URBAN BREN