The Achilles heel of the Coronavirus

A unique feature of the SARS-CoV-2 genome controls protein synthesis and presents an Achilles heel of the virus.


The RNA (yellow) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus forms a pseudoknot structure (multicolored, bottom right) which leads to a shift in the reading frame of the ribosome (brown). In this way, the viral RNA controls the production levels of the viral proteins. For more information, see the video linked below. (Graphic: Said Sannuga, / ETH Zurich, The Ban Lab)

ETH Zurich News Article
SARS-CoV-2 is critically dependent on a special mechanism for the production of its proteins. A collaborative team led by a research group at ETH Zurich obtained molecular insights into this process and demonstrated that it can be inhibited by chemical compounds, thereby significantly reducing viral replication in infected cells.

Link to News Article

Die Achillesferse des Coronavirus
Das Sars-CoV-2-Virus ist für die Produktion seiner Proteine auf einen speziellen Mechanismus angewiesen. Ein Forscherteam unter der Leitung einer Forschungsgruppe an der ETH Zürich konnte nun molekulare Einblicke in die Proteinproduktion des Virus gewinnen. Das Team zeigt zudem auf, wie chemische Substanzen den Mechanismus in infizierten Zellen hemmen und dadurch die Virenvermehrung markant reduzieren.

Link zum News Artikel

Read the Publication in Science

Watch the Molecular Animation on YouTube

Website Ban Lab

Website Gatfield Lab

Website Thiel Lab