Project "System for virus spread control and extreme situations management under conditions of COVID-19 epidemic"

2021.11.22

The Nature Research Centre's Laboratory of Genetics together with Vilnius University Life Sciences Centre and Kaunas University of Technology are running a project of short-term investigations in the fields of health and education "System for virus spread control and extreme situations management under conditions of COVID-19 epidemic".

The today's COVID-19 pandemic poses a great threat to human health and life and the spread of its agent SARS-CoV-2 is highly aggressive. The spread of SARS-CoV-2 directly depends on the ability of the virus to maintain infectivity; however, the direct testing of this virus is restricted because of threats posed by COVID-19. In such situation, it is particularly important to create a proper system for the evaluation of factors neutralising SARS-CoV-2 virus and analysis of such factors.

For the selection of factors neutralising the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the scientists applied the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae virus system. The yeast viruses of the Totiviridae family correspond to the traits of the model system necessary for such investigation. These viruses' genetic material (RNR) is of the same nature as that of SARS-CoV-2 genome, and their composition and effective replication in the host's cell is favourable for the investigation of effects harmful to the virus. In the course of evolution, yeast viruses lost infectivity and became intracellular, thus the restriction of their spread ensures human safety.

To implement project tasks, the scientists are investigating a wide spectrum of antivirus measures and analysing the effect of UVC radiation, chemical factors and natural biological substances on the structural and functional integrity of yeast viruses. By using open and closed type ultraviolet radiation disinfection blocks, the replication potential of virus genetic material is restrained. The scientists are conducting a complex investigation of antivirus and antimicrobial activity of different disinfectant liquids and evaluating the potential of natural essential oils, their mixtures and constituent parts in neutralising virus and microbiological infections and increasing the efficiency of individual safety measures.  

The application and extension of investigation of the yeast virus system would enable selecting the most efficient virus neutralising factors and would contribute to virus spread control and extreme situations management. The purpose of the project is to prevent and control virus and accompanying bacterial and fungal infections with a view to ensuring the maximum positive effect on public health.