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College of Arts and Sciences

Teaming up—Coronavirus research at Cornell

By: J. Edward Anthony
Cornell Research
September 4, 2020

This Cornell Research story explores the ways Cornell faculty are re-examining and adapting their innovations to develop the tests, treatments, and knowledge we need to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Cornell is funding 23 projects through its OVPR SARS-CoV-2 Seed Grant program, a joint endeavor of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR), the Center for Vertebrate Genomics and the Center for Immunology.

One of those projects involves Ailong Ke, professor of molecular biology and genetics, who is working with fellow researchers to engineer a molecular decoy that the SARS-CoV-2 virus will find more attractive, from a biochemical standpoint, than the receptors on human cells that the virus typically exploits. 

“To work, these receptor-like decoys will have to have an advantage," Ke explains. "They’ll have to have greater affinity and bind more tightly to the virus than a cell’s surface receptors do. Basically, they will latch onto the viruses and then sequester them away.”

Read more about the work of all 23 research projects in the Cornell Research story.