The world’s most sophisticated x-ray science facilities are teaming up to cooperate in the researcher to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The key to defeating COVID-19 is finding what truly is a biochemical key — an inhibitor molecule that will sit just right in the nooks and crannies of one or more of the 28 viral proteins that make up SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Discovering which keys have a chance of working requires a technique called macromolecular X-ray crystallography, in which tiny crystals of either pure protein or protein and inhibitors are grown and then illuminated by a high-brightness, high-energy X-ray beam.

These X-ray beams are unlike anything available at a doctor’s office and exist only at a few specialized sites around the world. Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), a Department of Energy  Office of Science User Facility, is one of them.

Many x-ray science facilities are carrying out research focused on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and they are making available their instruments with rapid access and remote channels to scientists desiring to address specific COVID-19 research topics. To further coordinate and strengthen their support of scientific research and solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these facilities assembled for a remote access video SR20 SummitApril 23-24. They shared their experience on facility activities in the recent weeks and decided to develop a cooperative strategy across all facilities worldwide to work jointly to overcome the pandemic.

“COVID-19 affects all of us, and I’m proud to be working with our international colleagues as we pool our resources to combat this pandemic,” says APS Director Stephen Streiffer, PhD.

Read more from the Argonne National Laboratory.

Featured image: The Advanced Photon Source (APS) is one of several X-ray science facilities around the world banding together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy, Image by Argonne National Laboratory.