Rapid Research Response Team - COVID-19

Following a call by President Tony Chan for KAUST PIs to contribute through their research capabilities to alleviate the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts coordinated by Donal Bradley, KAUST vice president for research, and Pierre Magistretti, KAUST dean of the Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering division, mobilized a group of faculty to form the Rapid Research Response Team (R3T). The focus of R3T is to collaborate with and strongly support the Kingdom's healthcare stakeholders to help combat the spread of COVID-19.  
Efforts are focusing on the development of rapid diagnostic platforms, genomic analysis of the virus and bioinformatic tools to help track the spread and evolution of the disease. These efforts are based on research projects and competencies established over the years at KAUST. They are also part of the Smart Health Initiative recently established at KAUST to implement joint research projects with medical centers in the Kingdom.
R3T's group of faculty has been in close contact with the Saudi Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to coordinate efforts that will synergize to ensure fast and reliable diagnostic tests, as the demand in the Kingdom and internationally for the tests will increase. Initial efforts are aimed at optimizing existing tests to decrease the amount of reagents used without compromising reliability. 
The group is also monitoring developments in other academic and biotechnology laboratories. In particular, R3T initiated a collaboration with the University of Oxford to implement a novel test that would greatly simplify the virus detection process.
Latest publications

No Evidence for Temperature-Dependence of the COVID-19 Epidemic -

Tahira Jamil, Intikhab Syed Alam, Takashi Gojobori, Carlos Duarte


www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.29.20046706v1

Functional pangenome analysis suggests inhibition of the protein E as a readily available therapy for COVID-2019 -

Intikhab alam, Allan Kamau, Maxat Kulmanov, Stefan T. Arold, Arnab Pain, Takashi Gojobori, Carlos M. Duarte


www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.17.952895v2​

Computational Drug Repositioning and Elucidation of Mechanism of Action of Compounds against SARS-CoV-2 -

Francesco Napolitano, Gennaro Gambardella, Diego Carrella, Xin Gao, Diego di Bernardo


https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2004/2004.07697.pdf

Prediction of novel virus–host interactions by integrating clinical symptoms and protein sequences -

Wang Liu-Wei, Şenay Kafkas, Jun Chen, Jesper Tegnér and Robert Hoehndorf


https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.22.055095v1