M. Boutros, DKFZ Heidelberg
Service Center: Heidelberg Center for Human Bioinformatics – HD-HuB

In a collaborative project, the groups of Michael Boutros (DKFZ Heidelberg) and Ralf Bartenschlager (Heidelberg University) have established an image based drug screen against SARS-CoV-2 in human tissue culture cell lines. For that, lung carcinoma cells over-expressing the ACE2 receptor – the entry point of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus – are incubated with virus isolates from patients and are subsequently labeled with fluorescent probes. Cells are then treated with various compounds or drugs to determine antiviral efficacy. High throughput imaging is subsequently performed to visualize the viral RNA, as well as cellular morphology markers. A reduction of viral RNA indicates virus inhibition while changes in cellular morphology indicate toxicity of used compounds.

To find out which of the tested compounds is antiviral, a large number of images has to be acquired and analyzed. The Boutros group has a long-standing expertise in high-throughput imaging and data management; and has applied and expanded this as a de.NBI member. The de.NBI cloud, in particular the DKFZ and Heidelberg University sites, provide the required computing power, which is instrumental for the success of this project. Ideally, those experiments could result in novel compounds or drug candidates for treatment of COVID-19.

For further information, visit https://www.dkfz.de/en/signaling/boutros_en.html

To access the de.NBI cloud, visit https://cloud.denbi.de/

13 Boutros Cloud based HD HuB extrah

Image Credit: Heeyong Kim