Biotech Updates

UChicago Creates First Computational Model of Entire COVID-19 Virus

January 13, 2021

Running a full-scale model of an entire virus is computationally difficult, but a new framework created by University of Chicago scientists allows researchers to run a usefully simplified version to better understand how SARS-COV-2 works. Image Source: Yu et al., Biophysical Journal (2021)

Researchers at the University of Chicago led by Prof. Gregory Voth have created the first usable computational model of the entire virus responsible for COVID-19, and they are making this model widely available to help advance research during the pandemic.

Professor Voth and his team have used their previous research to find the most important characteristics of each individual component of the virus to make a comprehensive computational model that could run on a computer. Professor Voth and his students pioneered this technique.

The simplified framework helps address a key issue in health research. While viruses are simpler biological entities, computational modeling is still a major challenge. The model provides a framework into which scientists can integrate additional information about SARS-CoV-2 as new discoveries are made. The research team also hopes that the model will be useful for COVID-19 drug design as well as understanding mutations that may arise, such as the one recently detected in the U.K.

The model is available to the public on GitHub. For more details, read the article in UChicago News.