PDB and the Pandemic
With this week's update, 1,536 SARS-CoV-2-related structures are now freely available from the Protein Data Bank. 55 new SARS-CoV-2 structures were released this week, including Delta and other variants. Access them all, along with related resources, at RCSB.org/covid19.
The first SARS-CoV-2 structure, a high-resolution crystal structure of the coronavirus main protease (PDB 6lu7), was released early in the pandemic on February 5, 2020.
Since then, structural biologists have visualized most of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome, including the spike protein binding to its ACE2 receptor and neutralizing antibodies, and the main protease, the papain-like proteinase, and other promising drug discovery targets. All structures and related data are available for exploration from wwPDB partner websites: RCSB PDB, PDBe, PDBj, and BMRB.
Rapid public release of SARS-CoV-2 structure data has greatly increased our understanding of Covid-19, allowed direct visualization of emerging variants of the virus, and facilitated structure-guided drug discovery and reuse to combat infection. Open access to PDB structures has already enabled design of effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.
The response of the research community to the pandemic has highlighted the importance of open access to scientific data in real time. The wwPDB strives to ensure that 3D biological structure data remain freely accessible for all, while maintaining as comprehensive and accurate an archive as possible.
The impact of these 1,536 structures, with more to come stands, as a testament to the importance of open access to structural biology research data.