Seminar Speaker Series – Prof. Imre Berger (28. 01. 2021)

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Lecture by Prof. Imre Bergera from Max Planck Bristol Centre, UK, entitled „The Bristol MultiBac Platform in the COVID19 Response: New avenues to combat the pandemic“ from the CAPSID Seminar Speaker Series, will take place on 28 January 2021 at 2 p.m. via online broadcasting via the ZOOM application.


The team headed by Professor Imre Berger from the Max Planck-Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology, used a powerful imaging technique, electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM), to analyse SARS-CoV-2 Spike at near atomic resolution. This enabled the researchers to peer deep inside the Spike identifying its molecular composition. Unexpectedly, the research team analysis revealed the presence of a small molecule, linoleic acid (LA), buried in a tailor-made pocket within the Spike protein. LA is a free fatty acid, which is indispensable for many cellular functions. The human body cannot produce LA. Instead, the body absorbs this essential molecule through diet. Intriguingly, LA plays a vital role in inflammation and immune modulation, which are both key elements of COVID-19 disease progression. LA is also needed to maintain cell membranes in the lungs so that we can breathe properly.

Berger’s team also discovered a druggable pocket in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein that could be used to stop the virus from infecting human cells. Their findings are a potential ‘game changer’ in defeating the current pandemic and add that small molecule anti-viral drugs developed to target the pocket they discovered could help eliminate COVID-19.


More information about lecture and registration on the project web site: 



Funding programme of the CAPSID project: Interreg V-A Slovakia-Austria