In his UW-Madison lab, Robert Kirchdoerfer studies proteins from six different types of coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS, which caused deadly human outbreaks in recent years.
Within two weeks, he expects to get proteins from the new coronavirus that emerged late last year in China, sickening at least 7,711 people, killing at least 170 and last week showing up in the United States.
Kirchdoerfer, who doesn’t work with whole viruses, studies protein sites shared among different strains of coronaviruses. “Our goal is to identify these sites and figure out how they work, and use those as targets to develop antiviral drugs,” he said.
As the new coronavirus outbreak continues to grow, mostly in China, state and campus experts in Madison are preparing for possible cases while cautioning against alarm. The new virus appears to be less deadly than SARS and MERS, and so far it presents much less of a threat in Wisconsin than seasonal flu, which has killed at least 23 people in the state since October.
Read the full Wisconsin State Journal story, which also features CMB student Thomas Anderson and CMB alum Allen Bateman, here.