As researchers around the world are racing against time to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, scientists in Australia have recently enlisted the help of the largest particle accelerator in the southern hemisphere to further the development of drugs to treat and cure the disease.
Andrew Peele, program director at Melbourne’s Australian Synchrotron, told the AFP on Tuesday that scientists at the major research facility have begun using a particle accelerator to analyze proteins found in the novel coronavirus.
“We shine the light on the proteins and the light that scatters off them tells us where every atom in the [COVID-19] protein molecule is,” Peele said. “You need to know what the protein looks like so you can design a drug to attach to it.”
The program director revealed that scientists from around the world have shipped dozens of protein samples to the Australian Synchrotron for further inspection regarding their usefulness in treating or protecting against the contagious disease.
“Using our technology, within five minutes you can understand why a drug does or doesn’t work in attaching to a COVID-19 protein,” Peele said, comparing the procedure to a jigsaw puzzle.
As of this article’s publication, there have been more than 826,000 novel coronavirus cases reported worldwide. While 40,708 deaths across the world have been associated with COVID-19, countries have reported that at least 174,115 individuals diagnosed with the contagious disease have recovered.