Aim: to use a pipeline to identify the best DVG candidates (molecules known to inhibit viral populations). The pipeline has proven effective in several virus families such as the MERS and murine (MHV) coronaviruses. The scientists propose to use the same method for SARS-CoV-2 and to test the five best DVG candidates on cell cultures. This could lead to DVGs being brought to market as an antiviral treatment for SARS-CoV-2.
DVGs are defective viral genomes capable of hijacking the replication machinery of wild-type viruses and partially or totally inhibiting viral populations. Thousands of different DVGs are produced during infection by one of these viruses. The scientists have developed a method to select those most likely to have antiviral potential.