A new science hub is to be created at Glasgow University to screen treatments for coronavirus

The £2.5 million facility, named Crush (Covid-19 Drug-Screening and Resistance Hub), will investigate promising drugs for the virus.

It will also provide drug screening for other dangerous and deadly viruses in its high containment facilities.

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Scientists at the hub will look to identify any possible drug and immune-resistant virus variants.

Research charity LifeArc has given £2 million to the project, with additional funds provided by the Medical Research Council.

It will be based at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) in partnership with the University of Dundee Drug Discovery Unit.

Professor Massimo Palmarini, director of the CVR, said: “Whilst Crush activities will initially focus on the Covid-19 pandemic, the CVR and the Crush facility are well positioned to rapidly respond to future viral outbreaks, delivering innovation to address public health crises caused by high consequence viruses.”

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Michael Dalrymple, executive director of diagnostics and science foresight at LifeArc, said: “At LifeArc, we focus on translation – advancing promising science into medical interventions that improve human health.”

He added: “Our partnership with the CVR to establish Crush will provide the virology research community in the UK with much needed infrastructure and facilities to progress essential research for Covid-19 drug development, other anti-viral therapies and diagnostics, towards patients.”

Professor Paul Wyatt, head of the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) at the University of Dundee, said the hub would enable the UK to rapidly respond to Covid-19 and “inevitable future strains of viruses”.

He said: “Crush will allow expert drug discovery groups such as the DDU to engage quickly and effectively in the identification of possible drugs to tackle current and future threats.

“We look forward to working with Massimo and the CVR team to build their capabilities.”

Professor Fiona Watt, executive chairwoman of the Medical Research Council, said: “The fight against Covid-19 requires world class scientists and world class labs. Scottish universities are some of the world’s best and their scientists are doing sterling work to research, understand and find solutions to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This funding recognizes the importance of their research and will enable them to continue working for the good not just of the UK, but of the world.”