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Integration of Genomics and AI to Accelerate Drug Discovery Against COVID-19

COVID-19 Regional Genomics Initiative
Genome Centre(s):
Génome Québec
Project Leader(s):
Michael Tyers (Université de Montréal)
Fiscal Year Project Launched: 
Project Description: 

The sudden onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic urgently requires new therapeutics against the causative pathogen, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. This proposal is focused on dramatically accelerating the discovery of new antiviral drugs based on a rational understanding of how the virus interacts with human host cells. We will use CRISPR-based genetic screens to identify new drug targets, artificial intelligence (AI) to predict chemical inhibitors against these targets, and advanced medicinal chemistry to synthesize and test inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 virus lifecycle. This research will occur on an accelerated timeline and will uncover how the virus depends on host cell functions, as well as develop methods to rapidly target these functions in order to block virus replication. The outputs of this research program will deliver new COVID-19 therapeutic candidates, and in the longer term, establish a new AI-guided approach to develop drugs against many different diseases.