Vironova is part of the MAD-CoV 2 project

covid-19-test-tubes-in-laboratory

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has had a significant negative impact on the world’s public health and the global economy since its outbreak in the beginning of 2020. From this has the international MAD-CoV 2 project emerged, trying to provide an increased capacity to handle the current outbreak as well as a powerful platform to develop new antivirals for past and future viruses.

We are happy to announce that Vironova will be a part of the international MAD-CoV 2 (Modern Approaches for Developing antivirals against SARS-CoV-2) collaboration as a partner from the biotechnological industry. Eight other research institutions, reference centers and innovative industry partners are also part of the project. Vironova will above all provide industry-leading expertise in electron microscopy and image analysis. Our deep learning based software will help to achieve time efficient and accurate results, but also to develop reliable methods to be used in the project. We are confident that our thorough experience and knowledge will contribute to the goals and objectives. 

MAD-CoV 2 had its kick off in the beginning of October and is coordinated by Prof. Ali Mirazimi, SVA, Sweden with the support of Inserm Transfert, France. The project is funded by the EU's research and innovation programme through the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and will run for the next four years.

The objectives of the project

The overall aim of the project is to develop and deliver treatment for covid-19 patients in order to increase the capacity to handle the current outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. Further, the plan is to develop a new powerful platform where new targets for development of antiviral therapeutics may be identified and characterized. A more profound objective description of the project can be found below.

  • Objective 1: Establish state-of-the-art infection model system; engineered human 3d organoids.
  • Objective 2: Verify the antiviral activity of recombinant soluble human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (SRHACE-2).
  • Objective 3: Identify and characterize new essential host cell factors for SARS-CoV-2 and other Corona viruses with pandemic potential.
  • Objective 4: Develop disruptive novel antiviral therapies to target novel host factors essential for SARS-CoV-2 infections.
  • Objective 5: Exploit project outputs and disseminate the results to the scientific community, public health bodies, non-governmental organizations, outbreak management teams.

Learn more about this project, participating partners and the team itself on the MAD-CoV 2 project website, where you can also join a free newsletter to stay up to date.

Comments from a senior Vironovian

We have spoken with Gustaf Kylberg, head of research and development at Vironova and PI for Vironova in MAD-CoV 2, to receive some insights in our participation in the project.

Gustaf Kylberg, PhD. Head of research and development at Vironova AB.

Gustaf Kylberg, PhD
Head of R&D at Vironova AB,
PI for Vironova in MAD-CoV 2

Why did Vironova apply for the MAD-CoV 2 project?
We have collaborated with Prof. Ali Mirazimi in the past and when he invited us during the intense first wave of the covid-19 pandemic to join as a partner in his application for the IMI call, we joined without hesitation. An intense week followed but the hard work paid off and the project proposal was accepted.

How will Vironova contribute to the project’s objectives?
We are experts in transmission electron microscopy and the analysis of the image data generated by this technique. We will study virus-host cell interactions for the different interference strategies in the project. We will utilize immunogold labelling in combination with automated data acquisition with our electron microscopes. Next we will put our state-of-the-art Deep Learning techniques into good use to analyze the acquired imagery to be able to draw conclusions on these specific interactions that are so vital for an effective antiviral substance. 

What are your expectations?
The MAD-CoV 2 project brings together a great collection of partners and working together with highly skilled and enthusiastic people is always inspiring and it is the perfect atmosphere for serendipity to take place. To be more concrete, I expect that we will learn a lot regarding how to study these kinds of virus-host cell interactions and that this will become a valuable feedback within the project. It will also be a great additional use case for our products MiniTEM and ViroTEM.