Neutron research in the fight against viral diseases: Covid-19, AIDS, Influenza and others
As with HIV before it, Europe’s advanced neutron sources will make an essential contribution to the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Modern analytical tools such as synchrotron X-ray radiation, cryo-electron microscopy and neutron scattering work together to provide indispensable insights into the morphology and functionality of viruses. Neutron scattering’s particular role here is to provide unique information on the chemistry of enzymatic reactions that often involve proton transfer. Recent studies on HIV-1 protease, an enzyme essential for the life-cycle of the HIV virus, perfectly illustrate the case. To fight Covid-19, a variety of neutron scattering methods will be required to get the full picture of the “invisible enemy” the world has found itself at war with.
Here we offer a selection of both groundbreaking and recent articles and papers demonstrating the impact of research at Europe’s large-scale neutron facilities on humanity’s persistent battle against viruses.
- The ESFRI Roadmap for Research Infrastructures in Europe has influenced European and national strategies, policies and funding since the first edition was launched in 2006. The latest roadmap, published on 7 December 2021, recognises the important role of the LENS Initiative in bringing together European analytical facilities to "identify synergies and opportunities for closer collaboration" and "improve the cooperation of various communities and enhance user facilities".
- The first call for applicants for the GNeuS fellowship programme is open from 1 November 2021 until 15 January 2022.
- In the context of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), LENS has compiled a variety of resources demonstrating how neutron scattering methods are being applied in energy, materials, and environment research, to help reduce our impact on the global climate.