UC Irvine lab makes coronavirus-crippling molecule, a first step toward a new drug

James Nowick, a professor of chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences who runs a lab that specializes in building molecules, described the coronavirus enzyme as a lock. … Nowick’s lab has essentially invented a fake key – a macrocycle, in scientific terms – to fit in that lock, but not turn it. “The fake key blocks the actual keys from fitting into the lock.” … The project, which started in April was spearheaded by Adam Kreutzer, a scientist in Nowick’s group. The team is calling the new macrocycle University of California, Irvine Coronavirus Inhibitor-1, or UCI-1 for short.