Sussex Involved in fight against COVID-19

LabFact member Professor John Spencer has joined an international team of volunteer chemists aiming to deliver a drug candidate effective against COVID-19. Professor John Spencer has submitted LabFact scaffolds for testing to help speed up the drug discovery process.

The  COVID Moonshot project involves scientists working in universities and industry across the world to join forces to crowdsource designs for the drug. The project was launched by PostEra, a company linked to the University of Cambridge, which uses Artificial Intelligence algorithms to map routes for drug synthesis to speed up the drug discovery process. PostEra have been collaborating with Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron, who have already discovered small molecules, called fragments, that weakly bind to the active site of a key coronavirus protein. The focus of the project is currently on the design ideas of these compounds.

Following strict protocol, the Spencer lab has been active during the COVID lockdown to find novel chemicals that LabFact PhD student, Arathy Jose had made (alongside Professor Mark Bagley), and these have been submitted to the cause.

If any drug candidates are identified via COVID Moonshot, the drug designs will be made openly available in the public domain without intellectual property restrictions.