Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) has summed up the results of the contest announced in April, 2020. It was titled the Fundamental Issues of Emergence and Distribution of Coronavirus Epidemics.
One of the 109 winners became the project titled the Study of the Adhesion Mechanisms of Viral Proteins and Their Complexes Causing High Contagiousness of Coronavirus Infection with the Usage of Biophotonics Methods and Mathematical Modelling. The project is done by an interdisciplinary team of specialists from Moscow State University, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Tomsk State University, Saratov State University, Siberian State Medical University, and the Institute on Laser and Information Technologies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Associate professor of the MSU Department of Medical Physics Andrei Butylin supervises the project. Saratov University is represented there by young scientists of the Department of Optics and Biophotonics (the Faculty of Physics) – Associate Professor Irina Yanina and a postgraduate student Ekaterina Lazareva.
The supported by RFBR project is devoted to the study of the adhesion mechanisms of specific viral proteins and their complexes which determine high contagiousness of the current coronavirus infection on surfaces with different physical and chemical properties and lipid membranes. The researchers use biophotonics methods, Raman spectroscopy, terahertz and infrared spectroscopy, and machine learning using experimental and mathematical modelling.
As Chairman of the Board of RFBR, Academician Vladislav Panchenko said in the interview to the Indicator, “we registered the largest number of applications – more than 200 – in the fundamental medicine, namely vaccine development. Many projects are associated with virus carriers, their distribution channels, and their habitat. We received a lot of applications from medical physicists: mathematical modelling, dynamics, development, decline of the pandemic, and not just by numerical methods but using big data technologies. After all, the coronavirus epidemic is non-linear and multifactorial, one factor affects another, and it is necessary to describe the entire system and the mutual influence of each of the components that characterize the pandemic.”
The RFBR chairman also hoped that the research work would be carried out with other countries. The researchers will study and analyse possible pandemic development processes and ways of optimal quarantine lifting taking into account local conditions and national differences.
In total, 561 applications were submitted to the Viruses Contest. Its results can be found on the RFBR website.