Researchers insight on how SARS-CoV-2 variants escape from immune response

The COVID-19 pandemic is still creating apprehension even after the development of several vaccines and antiviral therapy. Mutations occurring in SARS-CoV-2 enable the virus to escape from neutralizing antibodies. These mutations happen at a particular area called the ” Receptor binding site” on the spike protein of the virus.

The study

SARS-CoV-2 ” variants of concern’ include the UK’s B.1.1.7, South Africa’s B.1.351 variants, Brazil’s P.1, and India’s B.1.617. In this study, researchers focused on three mutations in the receptor-binding site of spike protein: K417N, E484K, and N501Y of SARS-CoV-2. Perhaps, these mutations are in the receptor-binding site where the virus attaches to the host cells. The researchers also tested representative antibodies that target the general areas in and around the receptor-binding protein. Also, they found that many of the antibodies lose their ability to neutralize the virus when these mutations are present. Therefore using structural imaging techniques, the researchers were able to understand how virus-neutralizing antibodies target two other areas outside the receptor-binding sites that were unaffected by these 3 mutations.

This study helps in the production of future vaccines and antibody-based treatments. It would provide protection to the SARS-CoV-2 variants and could help in the near future.

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