As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present serious health and economic challenges, researchers around the globe are working to better understand the novel coronavirus in the hopes of developing a vaccine.

 Now, a researcher at the University of Missouri has received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a “rapid response” study of an aspect of the virus that has received little attention, but could hold promise for defeating the pandemic.

 “Much of the research on this virus has focused on the point at which it attaches to a human cell,” said Steven Van Doren, a professor of biochemistry at MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “But this virus is like a mouse trap: it baits, and then it snaps. Everyone is looking at the bait, or the part of the virus that initially attaches. We want to look at the ‘snap’ — if we can understand how the virus particle actually merges with the cell, then alternative vaccines could be developed that might prevent infections.”

~ Find out more in today’s Journal ~