Covid-19 variants originating from UK, South Africa more infectious, study findstext_fields
New York: A group of researchers has examined the reason why the UK, South African variants of SARS -COV-2 is much more infectious and deadly.
The study says that B.1.1.7, the UK variant has innumerable mutations in the spike glycoprotein, and the most significant one N501Y, in the receptor-binding domain which interacts with the ACE2 receptor.
Victor Padilla-Sanchez, a research scientist at The Catholic University of America says, "This N501Y mutation provides a much higher efficiency of binding, which in turn makes the virus more infectious."
The UK variant was first detected in September 2020 and today it is causing 98 per cent of all Covid-19 cases in the nation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the UK variant is one among the most dangerous variants like those that emerged from South Africa and Brazil.
The South Africa variant which emerged in October 2020 has more significant changes in the spike protein, which makes it deadly than the UK variant.
A key mutation called E484K helps the virus evade antibodies and parts of the immune system which can combat coronavirus based on prior experience of infection or a vaccine.
Since the variant evades the immunity, the body will shut down the fight with the virus.
The part of the virus which attaches to human cells is the spike protein and all these variants change to survive and strengthen. As a result, they infect the cells along with spreading them.
Mutations have been introduced in computational analysis of the structure of the spike glycoprotein bound to the ACE2 receptor, in a study published in the Journal Research Ideas by a team of researchers.
Padilla-Sanchez a member of the team says, "I've been analysing a recently published structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike bound to the ACE2 receptor and found why the new variants are more transmissible". Also, she added, "These findings have been obtained using the University of California - San Francisco Chimera software and molecular dynamics simulations using the Frontera supercomputer of the Texas Advanced Computing Centre (TACC),"
Structural analysis was performed by the researchers in order to study the virus's crystal structure and molecular dynamics to obtain these findings.