Coronavirus Research


The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) has been involved in viral sequencing and analysis for more than 25 years, and coronavirus research for more than 15. This work has aided human health through vaccine development; improved food security by protecting crops and livestock; and provides critical data and analysis to researchers around the world. The Institute has also pioneered a synthetic biology platform which is now integral to fighting current and emerging viral threats.

Following is a summary of our various research projects on the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

SARS-CoV-2 Research

COVID-19 Serology Testing


JCVI is developing critical resources for the evaluation of antibody reactivity for serology testing. From an informatics perspective, the use of comparative genomics methods and predictive machine learning algorithms are being used to identify the key determinants for immune system recognition and to monitor the impact of virus evolution in immune system evasion. The bioinformatics analyses will aid in developing critical resources for the evaluation of antibody reactivity for serology testing.


In the laboratory, viral surface proteins are being generated for use as ELISA antigens, pseudotyped recombinant viruses are being constructed for neutralizing assays, and candidate vaccine constructs are being synthetized to define the immunogenicity of the viral proteins and to understand the basis of immune response and protection against SARS-CoV-2.


Funding for this research is provided through a variety of government and private sources.

We need your support now to continue and to expand upon these critical projects. If you would like to learn more about supporting any of this exciting research, please contact Jill Mullen at

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Coronavirus Support

Your support directly funds novel coronavirus research. This is monumental effort, requiring a wide range of scientific solutions. We need your support.

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Principal Investigators

Related Research


A novel vaccine based on SARS-CoV-2 CD4+ and CD8+ T cell conserved epitopes from variants Alpha to Omicron.
Scientific reports. 2022-10-06; 12.1: 16731.
PMID: 36202985
SARS-CoV-2 variant spike and accessory gene mutations alter pathogenesis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2022-09-13; 119.37: e2204717119.
PMID: 36040867
Defining the risk of SARS-CoV-2 variants on immune protection.
Nature. 2022-05-01; 605.7911: 640-652.
PMID: 35361968
High-Content Screening and Computational Prediction Reveal Viral Genes That Suppress the Innate Immune Response.
mSystems. 2022-04-26; 7.2: e0146621.
PMID: 35319251
Antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection or mRNA vaccines have reduced neutralizing activity against Beta and Omicron pseudoviruses.
Science translational medicine. 2022-03-02; 14.634: eabn7842.
PMID: 35025672
Corticosteroid treatment in COVID-19 modulates host inflammatory responses and transcriptional signatures of immune dysregulation.
Journal of leukocyte biology. 2021-12-01; 110.6: 1225-1239.
PMID: 34730254
Kinetic Multi-omic Analysis of Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Model of Severe COVID-19.
Journal of virology. 2021-09-27; 95.20: e0101021.
PMID: 34319784
Impact of SARS-CoV-2 variants on the total CD4+ and CD8+ T cell reactivity in infected or vaccinated individuals.
Cell reports. Medicine. 2021-07-20; 2.7: 100355.
PMID: 34230917
SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in advanced clinical trials: Where do we stand?
Advanced drug delivery reviews. 2021-05-01; 172.314-338.
PMID: 33482248
Rescue of Infectious Sindbis Virus by Yeast Spheroplast-Mammalian Cell Fusion.
Viruses. 2021-04-01; 13.4:
PMID: 33916100
COVID-19 pandemic reveals the peril of ignoring metadata standards.
Scientific data. 2020-06-19; 7.1: 188.
PMID: 32561801
A Sequence Homology and Bioinformatic Approach Can Predict Candidate Targets for Immune Responses to SARS-CoV-2.
Cell host & microbe. 2020-04-08; 27.4: 671-680.e2.
PMID: 32183941
Isolation, propagation, genome analysis and epidemiology of HKU1 betacoronaviruses.
The Journal of general virology. 2014-04-01; 95.Pt 4: 836-848.
PMID: 24394697
Virus pathogen database and analysis resource (ViPR): a comprehensive bioinformatics database and analysis resource for the coronavirus research community.
Viruses. 2012-11-19; 4.11: 3209-26.
PMID: 23202522
Genomic analysis of 16 Colorado human NL63 coronaviruses identifies a new genotype, high sequence diversity in the N-terminal domain of the spike gene and evidence of recombination.
The Journal of general virology. 2012-11-01; 93.Pt 11: 2387-2398.
PMID: 22837419
Characterization of a recombinant canine coronavirus with a distinct receptor-binding (S1) domain.
Virology. 2012-09-01; 430.2: 90-9.
PMID: 22609354
Spike protein fusion peptide and feline coronavirus virulence.
Emerging infectious diseases. 2012-07-01; 18.7: 1089-95.
PMID: 22709821
VIGOR extended to annotate genomes for additional 12 different viruses.
Nucleic acids research. 2012-07-01; 40.Web Server issue: W186-92.
PMID: 22669909
Molecular characterization of a new species in the genus Alphacoronavirus associated with mink epizootic catarrhal gastroenteritis.
The Journal of general virology. 2011-06-01; 92.Pt 6: 1369-79.
PMID: 21346029
Infidelity of SARS-CoV Nsp14-exonuclease mutant virus replication is revealed by complete genome sequencing.
PLoS pathogens. 2010-05-06; 6.5: e1000896.
PMID: 20463816
Bovine-like coronaviruses isolated from four species of captive wild ruminants are homologous to bovine coronaviruses, based on complete genomic sequences.
Journal of virology. 2008-12-01; 82.24: 12422-31.
PMID: 18842722
Quasispecies of bovine enteric and respiratory coronaviruses based on complete genome sequences and genetic changes after tissue culture adaptation.
Virology. 2007-06-20; 363.1: 1-10.
PMID: 17434558
Complete genomic sequences, a key residue in the spike protein and deletions in nonstructural protein 3b of US strains of the virulent and attenuated coronaviruses, transmissible gastroenteritis virus and porcine respiratory coronavirus.
Virology. 2007-02-20; 358.2: 424-35.
PMID: 17023013

Top scientists join forces to study leading theory behind long COVID

Several JCVI scientists will be contributing to the newly launched Long Covid Research Initiative — a collaboration of researchers, clinicians, and patients working to rapidly study and treat long Covid.

Press Release

Omicron and Beta variants evade antibodies elicited by vaccines and previous infections, but boosters help

Pregnancy also contributes to a reduced COVID-19 antibody response


SARS-CoV-2 Mutation Tracking

Press Release

Influenza A Virus Discovered in Heart Muscle Tissue Causing Damage Long After It Has Cleared from the Lungs

Strategies to inhibit necrotic cell death or to prevent mitochondrial damage should be pursued as possible therapies to reduce cardiac damage during influenza infections

The San Diego Union Tribune

Scientists rush to determine if mutant strain of coronavirus will deepen pandemic

U.S. researchers have been slow to perform the genetic sequencing that will help clarify the situation

Collaborator Release

Study reveals mouth as primary source of COVID-19 infection, spread

UNC-Chapel Hill, NIH identify sites in the oral cavity where coronavirus can take hold

Collaborator Release

LJI Scientists Identify Potential Targets for Immune Responses to Novel Coronavirus

The research, which includes comparative genomics analysis by JCVI scientists Yun Zhang and Richard Scheuermann, provides essential information about the human immune response to coronavirus infection that will guide the design and evaluation of diagnostics and vaccine candidates