How UK, South Africa Coronavirus Variants Escape Immunity?
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All viruses mutate as they make copies of themselves to spread and thrive. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is proving to be no different. There are currently more than 4,000 variants of COVID-19, which has already killed more than 2.7 million people worldwide during the pandemic.

In a research paper, researcher discusses the UK and South African variants in detail. He presents a computational analysis of the structure of the spike glycoprotein bound to the ACE2 receptor where the mutations have been introduced. His paper outlines the reason why these variants bind better to human cells.

He found that the UK variant has many mutations in the spike glycoprotein, but most important is one mutation, N501Y, in the receptor-binding domain that interacts with the ACE2 receptor. This N501Y mutation provides a much higher efficiency of binding, which in turn makes the virus more infectious.

The South Africa variant has more important changes in the spike protein, making it more dangerous than the UK variant. It involves a key mutation—called E484K—that helps the virus evade antibodies and parts of the immune system that can fight coronavirus based on experience from prior infection or a vaccine. Since the variant escapes immunity the body will not be able to fight the virus.

The researcher performed structural analysis, which studied the virus's crystal structure; and molecular dynamics to obtain these findings. The current vaccines will not necessarily treat the variants. The variants will require their own specific vaccines. We'll need as many vaccines for variants that appear.

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