OREANDA-NEWS A coronavirus protein will be sent to the ISS from the Baikonur cosmodrome, the launch is scheduled for 19:00 (Moscow time) on March 18, the online media Gazeta reported citing Youssef Hesuani, the head of 3D Bioprinting Solutions. The company participates in the project together with Roscosmos. He explained that this is necessary for growing large crystals of virus protein and studying it.

«Now we are in the process of preparing for launch, but the flight itself has not happened yet. At about 18:55, a rocket with a coronavirus protein will launch, and the ISS astronauts will begin work on Sunday. These will be the first experiments that will last 8 days. In orbit, the experiment will end by the 27th-28th, then the results will be analyzed for a month and a half already on Earth», Hesuani said.

As the biologist noted, SARS-CoV-2 crystals will be grown using a 3D bioprinter, this work will be carried out by the ISS astronauts. We are talking about the nucleocapsid — it is the inner shell necessary to protect the genome and the genome of the virus itself, as well as the RBD protein, which is responsible for the direct penetration of the virus into the human body. Proteins of the «omicron» strain will be used.

«In space, proteins grow and crystallize much better, because they are not affected by gravity. We get ultra-pure large crystals, which we can analyze by different methods. In our case, the larger the crystal, the more we can learn about the virus», Hesuani explained.

The biomaterial for research will be delivered to the ISS by the Soyuz MS-21 manned rocket.