SARS-CoV-2 Minister Sibler is informed about current research
Professor Thomas Carell, holder of the Chair of Organic Chemistry at LMU, is a specialist in DNA repair. Among other things, his research team is developing gene scissors that can cut through the virus genome at different locations after a cell is infected. This already works very well in Corona model viruses. For this reason, the first tests on the real virus will soon take place in human lung cells.
At the gene center, the researchers are working on various aspects relating to the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. For example, the working groups led by Veit Hornung, professor of immunobiochemistry and Karl-Peter Hopfner, professor of biochemistry and director of the gene center, are working on the optimization of detection methods for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 leads to an immune reaction, in which specific antibodies are formed. These are detectable in the blood of sick and recovered people. Therefore, there is an enormous worldwide need for sensitive and specific serological detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The challenge is to develop sensitive tests that don't respond to other corona viruses.
Science Minister Bernd Sibler with Professor Thomas Carell in front of the new building of the Institute for Chemical Epigenetics (ICEM), a research building partly financed by the federal and state governments due to its national importance, the completion of which is planned for the end of 2020. Professor Carell is the construction manager for the ICEM.
And also in other LMU units. For example, a team led by virologist Professor Gerd Sutter at the veterinary faculty is working on a vector-based vaccine against the virus: the researchers are incorporating a harmless piece of genetic material from the novel corona virus into a well-known vaccine virus. This section of DNA carries the information for a specific protein of the coronavirus shell. In contrast, the protective immune response should then be directed after a vaccination.
Research into the virus pandemic is not only taking place in the natural and life sciences. Numerous LMU scientists also deal with all aspects of the effects of SARS-CoV-2 in the fields of psychology, pedagogy, economics, sociology, cultural studies or history.