April 24, 2020

Warner, Kaine Announce $200,000 for Virginia Tech to Help Scientific Community Address COVID-19 Crisis

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $200,000 in federal funding to support a project by the Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI) at Virginia Tech that seeks to help the global computational molecular sciences community quickly provide their scientific data and expertise to address the COVID-19 crisis. The funding, awarded through the National Science Foundation (NSF), was made possible by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

“Virginia Tech has been a longstanding leader in the fields of research and innovation. That’s why we are glad to announce this federal funding, which will support the scientific community in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak that has devastated our nation,” said the Senators.

The project, titled ‘RAPID: MolSSI COVID-19 Biomolecular Simulation Data and Algorithm Consortium,’ will help speed up the identification and development of leads for antiviral drugs by allowing the biomolecular simulation community to share and utilize key data and resources to help analyze structural effects of genetic variation in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and inhibitors that can disrupt protein-protein interactions to viral entry into cells and adherence to surfaces that cause disease spread.

Specifically, the funding will help support a centralized repository for simulation-related data targeting the virus, host proteins, and potential pharmaceuticals. The federal dollars will also help fund a select set of MolSSI Software Seed Fellowships for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers targeting COVID-19-related software tools that operate on the data developed in the repository.

More information about the project is available here.