Webinar: Does the Coronavirus Have an Achilles Heel?

Speakers: Hebrew University’s Prof. Michal Linial and Dr. Dina Schneidman.

Abstract: The short answer is “we hope so”. The longer answer will be addressed in this joint talk in which we will cover some of the mysteries of the SARS-CoV-2. We will discuss some of the approaches we are taking towards a better understanding of the virus evolution, its cross-talk with human proteins and the cell machineries. We will briefly discuss “where did it came from”, from the time it appeared in our life (and changed them completely) to its evolution 3 months later. We will introduce the changes that were incorporated in the genome and their dynamics.

We will present shortly the results from molecular dynamic simulations of the receptor on the lung and the crown proteins. Through this magnifying glass we hope to better understand the atomic interaction of SARS-CoV-1 (SARS-2002) and the current SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in view of other coronaviruses. This approach was expanded to hundreds of virus-host protein-protein interactions for identification of attractive sites. In the last part of the talk we will introduce the ongoing camelid immunization approach. The idea is to take advantage of the unique features of small camelid nanobodies to target the Achilles hills of the COVID-19 using nanobody “cocktail”. The huge numbers of unique nanobody sequences present novel computational challenges for big-data sequence and structure analysis.