Identifying SARS-COV-2 Vulnerabilities

Illustration of coronavirus

Entry of SARS-CoV-2 into target cells is mediated by the interactions of the viral envelope glycoproteins (Envs) and the receptor(s) on the surface of host cells. The SARS-CoV-2 Envs are the sole target of neutralizing antibodies and the potential focus for vaccine development and therapeutic interventions.

Led by Alon Herschhorn, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, this study aims to optimize a system for studying SARS-Cov-2 entry and to identify Env amino acids that are critical for virus entry.

“Understanding SARS-CoV-2 Env function and identifying critical residues to mediate entry will build a basis for developing new vaccines and for therapeutic targeting of viral replication,” said Herschhorn. “This study will also inform us about the ability of the virus to escape interventions and become resistant.”

This project is supported by the UMN Campus Public Health Officer's CO:VID (Collaborative Outcomes: Visionary Innovation & Discovery) grants program, which support University of Minnesota faculty to catalyze and energize small-scale research projects designed to address and mitigate the COVID-19 virus and its associated risks.