College of Science & Engineering

Edinburgh provides essential proteins for virus research

University experts have joined a UK-wide effort to provide scientists with access to scarce substances, vital for Covid-19 research.

The Edinburgh Protein Production Facility (EPPF) will provide protein reagents – compounds essential for analysing the coronavirus – free of charge to researchers across the country.

The EPPF is one of ten specialist protein production laboratories, taking part in the COVID-19 Protein Production Consortium (CPPC), led by Wellcome and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Understanding the virus

Reliable protein reagents are crucial to understanding the fundamental biology of the virus, but can be challenging and time consuming to produce, especially under restricted working conditions.

The CPPC will help by providing scientists with quick access to protein reagents from one of the consortium’s labs through a dedicated website – known as the COVID-19 Protein Portal.

The portal contains a searchable database of reagents – including viral proteins, human proteins and antibodies relevant to coronavirus.

The EPPF will produce a range of proteins that are made by the virus as well as other serological reagents that will be used in drug and vaccine development against Covid-19.

The consortium also includes Diamond Light Source, the Francis Crick Institute, the MRC, the Rosalind Franklin Institute, STRUBI, Structural Genomics Consortium, University of Bristol and the University of Glasgow with logistical support from INSTRUCT-ERIC.

Researchers around the world are working at an unprecedented pace to deepen our understanding of Covid-19 and develop vaccines, treatments and tests against it. By collaborating across borders and openly sharing research and resources, we can learn more about the virus and help to bring this pandemic to an end.

Dr Michael DunnHead of Genetics and Molecular Science,  Wellcome

World leading

The EPPF, located in the University’s School of Biological Sciences, is managed by Dr Martin Wear, who leads a team of four experienced protein biochemists. 

It is internationally renowned for producing and characterising a range of medically important proteins and is one of the best centralised, high-value equipment facilities in Europe.

I am delighted that the School of Biological Sciences is playing such an important role in the Covid-19 response and I give my full support to Martin and the EPPF team in their efforts.

Professor David GrayHead of School of Biological Sciences

Related links

Edinburgh Protein Production Facility

School of Biological Sciences   

COVID-19 Protein Portal website

Press release