- July 20, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject :Science and Technology
A study has identified specific mutations within the spike proteins of the novel coronavirus that help Omicron subvariants evade antibodies. These antibodies can be from vaccines or previous COVID-19 infections.
- Spike protein protrudes from the surface of a coronavirus, like the spikes of a crown or corona — hence the name ‘coronavirus’.
- In the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, it is the spike protein that initiates the process of infection in a human cell.
- It attaches itself to a human enzyme, called the ACE2 receptor, before going on to enter the cell and make multiple copies of itself.
- The researchers believe the findings have implications for vaccine development.
- Many vaccines that are currently in development use the spike protein to stimulate the immune system.
- But these may have varying mixes of the prefusion and postfusion forms and that may limit their protective efficacy.
- There is need for stabilising the spike protein in its prefusion structure in order to block the conformational changes that lead to the postfusion state. If the protein is not stable, antibodies may be induced but they will be less effective in terms of blocking the virus.