They discover the key to combating all forms of COVID-19

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They discover the key to combating all forms of COVID-19
Scientists Are Working To Determine The Cause Of The Infectiousness Of Sars-Cov-2 (Getty)Scientists are working to determine the cause of the infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 (Getty)

a group of researchers from University of British Columbia (UBC) have discovered one “weak point” Among all major forms of the virus, a breakthrough that could lead to universally effective treatments. is that the observation on the genome of SARS-CoV-2 during the first year of covid-19 pandemic found out that Mutations in the spike protein (Protein S or spike) was the only generalized that was identified with consent by scientists in the world. The new genotype – named G614 – largely replaced the original genotype, D614.

In November 2020, the appearance of the alpha version (b.1.1.7) began to capture global headlines and coincided with the rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK. In this way, in four months the alpha version became the dominant SARS-CoV-2 lineage worldwide. The emergence of alpha was rapid after the appearance of new forms. Since then the dilemma has remained how effective are the treatments and vaccines to combat the full range of strains already established and to come.

Findings, published in nature communicationUse cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to reveal atomic level structure The weak spot on the virus’s spike protein, known as an epitope. The document further describes an antibody fragment, called VH Ab6, that can bind to this site and neutralize each major variant.

“It’s a highly adaptable virus that Has evolved to survive most antibody treatments As well as most of the immunity conferred by vaccines and natural infections.he pointed Sriram Subramaniam, professor at the UBC School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “This research reveals a weak spot that rarely changes between variants and can be neutralized by antibody fragments. Thus, the stage is set for the design of pan-variant treatments that can help many vulnerable people.” could,” he said.

The new technique implemented by the researchers allows scientists to quickly deposit proteins at the atomic level so that they can take hundreds of thousands of snapshots – just like X-rays – of individual proteins. “We can then computationally combine them in 3D to create an atomic landscape that looks like a protein,” Subramaniam said.

While several antibody treatments have been developed to combat COVID-19, their effectiveness against highly mutated variants such as Omicron has decreased. “Antibodies attach to a virus in a very specific way, like a key going into a lock. But when the virus mutates, the key no longer fits. we are looking for master key, Antibodies continue Inactive virus even after widespread mutation,” explained Subramaniam.

The correct key that Subramaniam mentioned has been identified in this new article. This is the VH Ab6 antibody fragment, which proved cash against Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Kappa, Epsilon and Omicron variants, The fragment neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 by binding to the epitope on the spike protein and preventing virus entry into human cells,

The discovery is the latest in a long-standing and productive collaboration between Subramaniam’s team at UBC and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, led by Mitko Dimitrov and Wei Lee. The Pittsburgh team is examining large libraries of antibodies and testing their efficacy against COVID-19, while the UBC team is using cryo-EM to study the molecular structure and characteristics of the spike protein.

The Colombian group of experts is world renowned for their expertise in using this technology to visualize Protein–protein and protein–antibody interactions at atomic resolution.

In another article published earlier this year scienceThese above experts were the first to report contact area structure The interaction between the omicron spike protein and the human cell receptor ACE2, provides a molecular explanation for The viral fitness of Omicron has improved.

“This major vulnerability can be exploited by drug manufacturers, and because the site is relatively free of mutations, the resulting treatments may be effective against existing and even future forms of the virus. The weak point has a much clearer picture: we all know the interactions that the spike protein makes with antibodies at this site”, Subramaniam explained.

In that sense, the expert predicted how these advances could be used. “We can work backwards from this. How? Using intelligent design to develop a large number of antibody treatments that are widely effective and resistant to variants. This is a game changer in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. will be proved.,

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