New perspectives for anti-viral therapy: The regulatory roles of genomic RNA in virus assembly, infection and evolution


  • Prof Reidun Twarock

    University of York, United Kingdom

Project summary

The Covid-19 pandemic has generated widespread interest in viruses. This public engagement initiative is an opportunity for members of the general public to explore the science underpinning viruses and showcase the opportunities for antiviral therapy generated by Wellcome Trust funded research. Viano - a fusion of the words 'virus' and 'piano' - is a virtual instrument for playing viral genome data-generated music in concert with 3D virus visuals. Its aim is to communicate the concepts of mutation and selective pressures in viral evolution, the challenges they pose for antiviral intervention, and the opportunities for therapy arising from our discovery of genetically robust features in viral genomes. Viano will be offered as a gallery exhibit and for home use as an app. In the Lowry Museum gallery, Viano will work on a large scale: the main virus 3D image will be projected on the wall (7m x 7m) and users will have access to a large projected musical keyboard on the floor with over 29,000 keys representing the virus' genomic sequence. Both image and keyboard will be operated via body movement in a Covid secure manner, and a musical genome keyboard on the screen will also be accessible via an Android/Apple mobile and tablet app. Viano will come with a full programme of workshops and debates and will give the public the ability to save and share their musical viral compositions online.