Get a Peek inside the Search for COVID-19 Drugs

Last week, scientists at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories started suiting up to conduct research on live samples of the novel coronavirus.

This type of emergency—a fast-spreading virus outbreak—is precisely what the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), now in its second year of full operation, was made for, says Robert Davey, a microbiologist at Boston University, home to the NEIDL.

NEIDL’s work will involve a number of studies scientists are planning related to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease called COVID-19.

“As part of the Greater Boston Consortium on Pathogen Readiness (GBCPR), we have already started collaborating with teams of researchers in the Greater Boston area to better understand the way the novel coronavirus infects cells and leads to COVID-19, toward identifying effective treatments and vaccine candidates,” says Ronald Corley, NEIDL’s director.

Davey’s team specializes in pitting thousands upon thousands of drugs—small molecules made of different chemical concoctions—against lab cultures of cells infected with contagions, allowing them to rapidly detect which drugs are most effective at halting or reducing infection.

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