EMBL has acted swiftly in response to COVID-19 by launching new initiatives and re-purposing existing facilities to provide a range of direct research and support services, including in collaboration with institutes in the Member States.

Image credit: Aleksandra Krolik/EMBL

How EMBL is working to tackle COVID-19

Our scientists and collaborators discuss how EMBL's state-of-the-art facilities, expertise and service provisions have helped the global community tackle COVID-19.

Extending the COVID-19 Data Platform

As the COVID-19 Data Platform expands, it has enabled our partners to build useful infectious disease tools and services on top of it.

The search for COVID-19 treatments

In a race against time, researchers at QBI UCSF, Institut Pasteur, University of Freiburg and EMBL-EBI combined their expertise to identify drugs to stop SARS-CoV-2 from infecting cells.

How COVID-19 highjacks human cells

Ralf Bartenschlager from the University of Heidelberg discusses how he utilised EMBL's expertise and the Electron Microscopy Core Facility to study how SARS-CoV-2 highjacks human cells.

Mini-antibody identified to combat COVID-19

Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, EMBL Hamburg and the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) in Hamburg teamed up to screen hundreds of synthetic mini-antibodies called sybodies, the scientists identified one that might stop SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells.

COVID-19 data sharing: National efforts

As part of the COVID-19 Data Platform, a number of national portals have launched across Europe focusing on COVID-19 research and data sharing.

Studying the COVID-19 spike protein

Gerhard Hummer and Martin Beck from the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics and Jacomina Krijnse Locker from the Paul Ehrlich Institute describe the insights gained on the COVID-19 spike protein and how EMBL’s expertise and infrastructure was essential for their work.

“We would not have progressed as fast without the imaging facility of EMBL.”
- Prof. Dr. Jacomina Krijnse Locker from the Paul Ehrlich Institute

Data resources

COVID-19 Data Platform

The COVID-19 Data Portal enables researchers to upload, access and analyse COVID-19 related reference data and specialist datasets as part of the wider European COVID-19 Data Platform.


RBPbase is a database of over 4000 RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) to assist researchers worldwide in the identification of proteins that interact with the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome.

PDBe COVID-19 Portal

Dedicated pages that highlight important structural features of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including all observed ligand binding sites and protein-protein interaction residues, to support researchers in the development of treatments and vaccines.

UniProt COVID-19 Portal

The latest available pre-release UniProtKB data for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Ensembl SARS-CoV-2 genome browser

The complete genome of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) isolate.

Open Targets COVID-19 target prioritisation tool

Integration of key datasets to identify and prioritise potential human and viral protein drug targets for COVID-19 treatments.

COVID-19 preprints in Europe PMC

Latest scientific publications and grants available in a single repository.

ChEMBL SARS-CoV-2 data

A summary of SARS-CoV-2 related bioactive molecules.

Scientific services

EMBL continues to provide many of our services in virtual and remote formats, to support research efforts efficiently and effectively during the pandemic.

Fully automated remote access to HTX

EMBL Grenoble’s fully automated protein- to-structure pipeline is available for external users and can be accessed via a mail-in sample service.

EMBL SPC facility supports COVID-19 projects

The Sample Preparation and Characterisation Facility at EMBL Hamburg is open to support scientists working on COVID-19 research. our programme to scientists virtually all over the globe.

Editing the mouse genome to study SARS-CoV-2 infection

To study how SARS-CoV-2 infects cells, researchers in the Gene Editing and Embryology Facility (GEEF) at EMBL Rome are working on a transgenic mouse line, which has the potential to advance antibody and vaccine preclinical trials.

Training and conferences

EMBL continues to provide many of our training offerings, courses and conferences in virtual and remote formats, to continue to train and inspire the next scientific generation.

Bioinformatics training online

EMBL-EBI training enables scientists at all levels to get the most out of publicly available biological data, and continues to train scientists virtually.

Virtual school visits

The European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences (ELLS) – EMBL’s education facility – offers virtual guided tours of EMBL for school groups.

EMBL Response

EMBL’s efforts to fight COVID-19

More EMBL news relating to COVID-19
More EMBL news relating to COVID-19

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