COVID-19 Drug-Screening and Resistance Hub (CRUSH)

CVR-CRUSH (COVID-19 Drug-Screening and Resistance Hub) is a fully integrated hub dedicated to accelerating antiviral therapeutic discovery for SARS-CoV-2 and other high consequence viruses. CRUSH was established with the support of LifeArc and, in part, from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC). LifeArc and the University of Dundee Drug Discovery Unit are strategic partners of CRUSH.

 

Crush lab photo

CRUSH has both the infrastructure and expertise to take the initial in vitro screening of antiviral compounds through to functional studies and on to pre-clinical animal models for efficacy evaluation of promising candidates.

CRUSH is fully embedded within the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR).  The Centre has been expressly established for virus research. Specifically, its substantial BSL3 facilities allow culturing of live high consequence viruses (including SARS-CoV-2) thus enabling fundamental research on their life cycle and allowing other activities such as antiviral compound screening to facilitate development of novel therapeutic pipelines.

The centre also possesses sequencing core facilities and staff with expertise in sequencing the genomes of large numbers of SARS-CoV-2 clinical samples, computational biology, imaging and cryo-EM.  A variety of workflows can be supported including for example: the mapping of drug-resistance mutations, followed by analysis of their structural biology to determine how such mutations affect protein conformation and function.

The CVR provides an ideal environment for both therapeutic screening and deepening of our understanding of the molecular biology of SARS-CoV-2 and the emerging phenomenon of resistance to anti-virals.

This environment is enabled by:

  • significant expertise on relevant viral infection models
  • clinicians able to inform therapeutic needs and to facilitate translational projects
  • experts in host-virus interactions (including protein-protein and protein-RNA) able to contribute broad virology expertise to therapeutic developments.

 

“Our partnership with the CVR to establish CRUSH will provide the virology research community in the UK with much-needed infrastructure and facilities to progress essential research for Covid-19 drug development, other anti-viral therapies and diagnostics, towards patients.”  Michael Dalrymple, Executive Director Diagnostics and Science Foresight at LifeArc