WPI Professor, Grad Students Share Coronavirus Roadmap

WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor and his students have come up with a structural road map of the 2019 novel conoravirus and shared it with the entire scientific community.

The day the federal government released the viral genome for the coronavirus was the day Worcester Polytechnic Institute Associate Professor of Computer Science Dmitry Korkin started working on creating a 3D model of the virus with his graduate students.

"I gathered my group, I said, let's work on it," Korkin told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe.

WPI Professor Dmitry Korkin

WPI Professor Dmitry Korkin with a model of the 2019 novel coronavirus. (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Korkin compared the disease with the older SARS and MERS viruses, and is figuring out how to tell which populations are at the most risk for contracting the disease. That, in turn, could help predict where the virus could turn up next.

"If some populations will be more resistant and some populations will be more susceptible, we will probably define the natural areas where the virus is likely to occur and re-emerge," he said.

Korkin is hoping his work will lead to new breakthroughs in treating the virus.

"Our research provided the first guidelines toward which drugs previously developed for SARS and MERS could be repurposed," Korkin said. "The good news is, those are the drugs that have been previously developed, so we are not starting from scratch."

The school said Korkin will continute provide further insights on the virus to the scientific community.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports

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