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The CVR, with support from LifeArc and the MRC, has established a translational facility for antiviral drug screening and resistance development. CRUSH (COVID-19 Resistance and Drug-Screening Hub) is a fully integrated hub with the biocontainment facilities and expertise to support pre-clinical studies of high consequence viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.  Proximity to the CVR’s virology expertise, viral genomics and computational biology capabilities further strengthens the CRUSH offering. The University of Dundee Drug Discovery Unit is also a collaborative partner, bringing extensive experience in high throughput drug discovery assays.

CRUSH activities will initially focus on SARS-CoV-2, but this is a stable and sustainable resource for the UK’s research communities to accelerate drug discovery for any known or novel high consequence virus requiring biocontainment facilities.  

CVR CRUSH is designed to support a variety of activities including, but not limited to:

  • Screening the antiviral activity of drugs and therapeutics (e.g. monoclonal antibodies) against SARS-CoV-2, or other viral pathogens
  • Validation screens in different cell systems including primary lung and nasal cultures
  • Drug combination screens
  • Identifying and characterising the emergence of potential drug-resistant viral mutations following treatment with antiviral drugs
  • Mechanistic studies on drugs of interest
  • Monitoring the global incidence of SARS-CoV-2 strains with potential drug-resistant mutations
  • Various serological assays including virus neutralisation assays
  • Assays performed on SARS-CoV-2 and other viral pathogens
  • Assays determining whether buffers/procedures/devices inactivate SARS-CoV-2
  • Testing and validation of diagnostic assays
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